Published February 07, 2013
New Seattle Symphony conductor makes his Olympia debutMOLLY GILMORE
Friday night, the Seattle Symphony Orchestras news-making new conductor, Ludovic Morlot, makes his Olympia debut.Although weve performed in Olympia many times in the past, this will be the first time for our new music director, said Mary Langholz, the orchestras communications director.This is Morlots second season leading the orchestra, but the orchestra didnt make it to Olympia last season for its usual annual performance a tradition that had gone back 20 years. There was no intent to skip a year, center staff said. It was just some combination of scheduling and perhaps cost.In his short time with the orchestra, Morlot has made a big splash. In 2011, the orchestra made its debut at Seattles Bumbershoot festival. He visited Los Angeles last month, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the touring Boston Symphony. Hes often noted for his style and showmanship as well as for substance but hes been earning shining reviews in The Seattle Times, the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous international publications.With Bumbershoot and other Symphony Untuxed events, Morlot definitely wants to make the orchestra relevant to younger audiences. The French-born conductor, who was not available for an interview this week, is himself only 39.How casual does he want to make things? As part of his introduction to Seattle in 2011, he threw out the first pitch at a Mariners game.And he asked The Seattle Times why the paper lumps classical music in with the likes of art, dance and theater, rather than categorizing it with folk, rock, pop and hip-hop. I really appreciate that theres great music and not-so-great music and thats the distinction that Id like to see, rather than just keeping the classical music in a little bunker somehow, he told the Times Michael Upchurch in 2011.Even The New York Times has been making much of the conductor, who began his musical career as a violinist. A symphonys leader takes Seattle by storm trumpeted the title of a 2012 New York Times piece about Morlots ambitions to make the symphony one of Americas top 10 orchestras.All that said, the program for Olympia isnt particularly cutting edge. He will conduct a romantic program of Brahms and Schumann and close with the popular William Tell Overture, Langholz said.Still, the center is excited to be hosting the orchestra once again. More than half of the seats had been sold as of Monday, said Sarah Sugarbaker in the center box office.And it seems the orchestra is excited to have the opportunity to impress a new crop of elected officials. Orchestra officials have invited the governor and other local leaders to attend the concert.We hope to see many of our states elected officials in the audience, Langholz said.