Seattle Symphony 


The Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard live by more than 300,000 people annually. Its extensive education and community-engagement programs reach over 60,000 children and adults each year. The Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.

Mission Statement
The Seattle Symphony Unleashes the Power of Music, Brings People Together, and Lifts the Human Spirit
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Seattle Symphony
PO Box 21906 
(206) 215-4832 

Simon Woods 
President & CEO 


Seattle Symphony Programs

Three special initiatives help the Seattle Symphony connect people of all backgrounds to the inspiration of music. 
  • Through Community Connections the symphony partners with non-profit organizations to serve needs-based residents in the Puget Sound. The Seattle Symphony provides free access to concerts and leads small-group opportunities for personal development, empowering participants both as individuals and artists. Community partners include more than 45 organizations that focus in the areas of social services, health and wellness and cultural heritage. 
  • Link Up Seattle Symphony teaches music to 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in partnerships with Seattle Public Schools and other districts across the region. Using curriculum developed by Carnegie Hall, symphony teaching artists go into classrooms for extended residencies. They instill musical knowledge and skills that prepare students to participate in a highly interactive concert at Benaroya Hall where they sing and play along with the Seattle Symphony from their seats in the auditorium.
  • Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center, located in Benaroya Hall, serves thousands of youngsters and their family members each year through age-appropriate classes, concert experiences and opportunities for hands-on musical exploration. These initiatives, plus thirteen other major programs offered through our Education and Community Engagement Department, serve 60,000 people of all ages, abilities and life circumstances each year at low or no cost to the participants.
Educational programs are designed to foster a lifelong love of music. A multitude of programs are tailored to serve every developmental age, and inspire discovery and creativity in the orchestra’s youngest fans.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Recent Success
  • Seattle Symphony recordings received 6 Grammy Nominations and 1 Grammy Award in 2015, thanks to Music Director Ludovic Morlot’s collaborations with Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams and French cellist Xavier Phillips. The Seattle Symphony commissioned Adams in 2013 to write a major new symphonic work titled Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Morlot and the Symphony premiered Become Ocean in Seattle in June 2013, and then took the work to New York City for a sold-out Carnegie Hall performance at the Spring4Music Festival. Subsequently the recording of Become Ocean received a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, as well as a Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Classical Album. Further highlighting Ludovic Morlot’s interest in contemporary symphonic music, he and the orchestra partnered with French cellist Xavier Phillips in a recording of French composer Henri Dutilleux’s Symphony No. 1. Released on our new independent recording label Seattle Symphony Media, the CD received Grammy Nominations in the categories of Best Engineered Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Classical Instrumental Solo, as well as Producer of the Year for Seattle Symphony Media Recording Engineer Dmitriy Lipay.
Current Need
  • Concert ticket revenues support only a portion of the overall costs to present artistic programming each season. Grants and other charitable gifts help keep ticket prices affordable, and are the primary funding sources for the Seattle Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community programs.


The Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO) provides symphonic concerts and comprehensive Education and Community Programs for more than 315,000 people each year.

The Seattle Symphony concluded its search for a new Music Director with the selection of Ludovic Morlot, who will take over for the 2011-12 season. The selection seeks to capitalize on the 26-year tenure of Music Director Gerard Schwarz and the achievements that have led to Seattle Symphony’s national recognition, while evolving with Morlot’s new style. Seattle Symphony has also concluded its search for a new Executive Director and named Simon Woods of the Royal National Scottish Orchestra to the post in November 2010. Transitional duties began immediately and Mr. Woods assumed full-time leadership beginning May 4, 2011. The transition in leaders will shape the artistic direction of the symphony.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Many of the Symphony’s Education and Community Programs are offered free of charge through SSO’s award-winning project called ACCESS (Artistic and Cultural Community Engagement with Seattle Symphony), which encourages accessibility to diverse, underserved and low-income populations. This program works in partnership with Seattle Public Schools (and other districts), the City of Seattle and the NEA.

Best Practices
SSO’s new student-assessment tool, “My Musical Friends and Me,” was adopted by Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction for a second year. Keyed to State education standards, this Classroom-Based Performance Assessment was developed by SSO in collaboration with the UW and Seattle Public Schools to measure the educational impacts on thousands of students participating in their education programs.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2015 $25,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2013 $25,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/10/2010 $40,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/18/2007 $50,000.00support general operating expenses.


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