Something old, something new, something collaborative — and some things only world-class soloists can do.
The Seattle Symphony’s 2013-2014 season has a sweeping variety that promises to be, well … symphonic.
This is the orchestra’s second year with Ludovic Morlot as music director, and it continues in the same eclectic vein that marked his first season.
The next Masterworks series opens with an all-Ravel concert, featuring keyboard star Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and closes with an all-Stravinsky program (his three great ballets: “The Firebird,” “Petrushka” and “Rite of Spring”).
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In between, Morlot will delve into what he calls the “war horses” of the classical repertoire: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”), Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, to name just a few.
He won’t neglect new music either, as he conducts U.S. premieres of works by French composer Pascal Dusapin, Scotland’s James MacMillan and Russia’s Alexander Raskatov.
Other news of note: In May 2014, the Symphony will make its first trip to New York’s Carnegie Hall under Morlot’s watch. The orchestra was last there in 2004.
Morlot was in Montreal this week, conducting the Montreal Symphony, and he talked by phone about the upcoming season. The aim, he said, was to create “a combination of comfortable territory and adventurous programming.”
The all-Ravel and all-Stravinsky programs have him particularly excited.
“It’s a little bit of an indulgence,” he says. “I’ve always dreamt of spending a whole evening with a composer.”
Many programs in the new season are built around collaborative efforts with local arts organizations, including one with Seattle Opera honoring Speight Jenkins’ achievements with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem.
“Celebrate Asia” will highlight younger local talent, as Seattle Modern Orchestra co-director Julia Tai leads the Symphony through a program that includes a world premiere by Richard Karpen, director of the University of Washington School of Music.
Performers from the international circuit returning to Benaroya Hall include cellist Xavier Phillips, violinists Joshua Bell and Renaud Capuçon, and pianists Jonathan Biss, Paul Lewis and William Wolfram. András Schiff continues his Bach cycle with a performance of the Goldberg Variations.
Making their Symphony debuts are pianist Simone Dinnerstein, as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, and organist Cameron Carpenter, in recital. The latter has been described in one German newspaper, Die Zeit, as “a fallen angel who gives the organ back its sin.”
Sonic Evolution, which celebrates Seattle’s jazz and pop-music heritage with SSO-commissioned compositions, returns in 2014 with rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot as its emcee.
New Year’s Eve 2013 promises something special as new pops conductor Jeff Tyzik and Morlot appear on stage together, leading the orchestra through dueling “Nutcracker” Suites — one, the classic by Tchaikovsky; the other by Duke Ellington.
As for the season’s opening-night concert and gala on Sept. 15, the headliner will be Lang Lang tackling Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. But the show will start off with Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances,” Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,” Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances” and Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances.”
With all that dance fare on the program, does Morlot hope to see patrons gyrating in the aisles?
Maybe not, he says. “But they can dance in their seats, for sure.”
Tickets and info: 206-215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org