Suddenly, the Seattle Symphony Chooses Ludovic Morlot’s Successor

When in 2010 Morlot was tapped to follow Gerard Schwarz’s 26-year tenure, he was largely an unknown quantity: He’d guest-conducted here twice, but the second time was dramatic, stepping in at short notice (for a conductor grounded due to the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions) and saving the day. But Thomas Dausgaard—named in a press release tonight as the SSO’s next music director, starting in the 2019-2020 season—was pretty clearly the front-runner. The Danish maestro has been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2014, and has already been smoothly spliced in to the orchestra’s commitment to recording on its own label, with two CDs so far: Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, released in June and nominated for a Gramophone Award, and Nielsen’s Third and Fourth Symphonies, to be out in November. His appointment was the culmination of a six-month search by an 11-member committee of SSO musicians, Board members, and staff chaired by Board member Paul Leach. The SSO’s press release touts Dausgaard’s advocacy of new music and his relationships with Scandinavian and English composers; it’s heartening to be able to expect a commitment to such composers as fervent as the one Morlot felt for the music of Henri Dutilleux, featured on several of the SSO’s most ravishing and acclaimed recordings. Our next opportunity to hear Dausgaard will be his all-Brahms concert January 25 and 27.

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