Seattle Symphony 


Founded in 1903 and now in its 110th season, the Seattle Symphony has completed more than 140 recordings and received 12 Grammy nominations, 2 Emmys and numerous other awards. The Orchestra has enjoyed national and international acclaim for its programming and performances under Music Director Ludovic Morlot, who is now in his second season as the organization’s artistic leader. The Orchestra performs in one of the world’s finest concert venues — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle — and is internationally recognized for its adventurous and innovative programming of contemporary works, its devotion to the classics, and its extensive recording history. From September through July, the Symphony is heard live by more than 315,000 people.

Mission Statement
To present symphonic music of the highest quality in a distinctive way for the cultural enrichment, education, engagement and enjoyment of the people locally, nationally and internationally.
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Seattle Symphony
PO Box 21906 
(206) 215-4832 

Simon Woods 
Executive Director 


Seattle Symphony Programs

The Seattle Symphony’s Family, School & Community Programs serve more than 100,000 people each year with 60 concerts and more than 550 classes, curricula, workshops, and lectures.  A new initiative titled Family Connections is making the Symphony even more accessible to families by providing free tickets for young people to attend concerts with an already ticketed adult. In tandem with Family Connections, the Community Connections program forges partnerships with social services agencies to provide free concert tickets and programs that allow people to share arts experiences together. Family, School & Community Programs take place at Benaroya Hall and at venues throughout the community, with more than 190 schools participating in concerts and activities offered at no charge. The Seattle Symphony places special emphasis on reaching schools and neighborhoods with high concentrations of diverse, underserved, and low income populations. These programs have earned the MetLife Award for Excellence in Community Engagement and are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Seattle Symphony engages the community through a broad variety of artistic programming to serve all tastes and preferences. These include the "Masterworks Series" featuring everything from iconic classics to new work by living composers, "Celebrate Asia" featuring music spanning East to West, "Seattle Pops Series", and the "Beyond the Score Series" where multimedia presentations and performances expand audience knowledge of symphonic music. Countless other series vary from season to season.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

The Seattle Symphony will perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2014 Spring for Music festival. Spring for Music is an annual festival at Carnegie Hall designed to showcase the quality and creativity of North American orchestras. The Seattle Symphony was one of six ensembles selected from a pool of more than 60 orchestras who submitted programs for consideration. Nothing in the music world is more prized than an appearance at Carnegie Hall, and the orchestra is thrilled to be appearing there in 2014 with a program including a major new commission from Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams, that will be premiered in Seattle in June 2013. 

The Seattle Symphony sees great potential for enhancing community connections, customer service and accessibility by expanding our reach through the internet, mobile devices, and other developing technology.  To do this, the organization needs to invest in infrastructure upgrades including website, digital media and social media, which alongside new programming geared toward all generational and cultural segments of greater Seattle, will help build a new cross-generational, multi-cultural audience to serve all the people of the region.


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:

9/10/2013 $25,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/10/2010 $40,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/18/2007 $50,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/16/2005 $40,000.00support general operating expenses.


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