Seattle Symphony 


The Seattle Symphony presents more than 200 performances annually for audiences totaling 300,000. Ludovic Morlot has broadened the orchestra’s reach through fresh, innovative programming since his appointment as Music Director in 2011, and the orchestra has transformed artistically under his leadership. Maestro Morlot delivers refreshing renditions of the classics while collaborating with and investing in today’s composers. “Become Ocean,” a new symphonic work commissioned by the Seattle Symphony from composer John Luther Adams has received the Pulitzer Prize and will be featured in the orchestra’s May 2014 concert at Carnegie Hall.

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

Simon Woods 
Executive Director 


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 30 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 recorder 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 100,000 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, and serve 100,000 annually. 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
  • In April 2014 the Pulitzer Prize was awarded to John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean, commissioned by the Seattle Symphony and premiered in Seattle in June 2013. 
  • The Seattle Symphony launched its own record label, Seattle Symphony Media, in March 2014. The first three recordings were released in April 2014 and feature French and American composers. Michael Upchurch of the Seattle Times writes “The biggest news is a disc featuring three works by French composer Henri Dutilleux: Symphony No. 1, “Tout un Monde Lointain” (a cello concerto with Xavier Phillips as soloist) and “The Shadows of Time.” Symphony music director Ludovic Morlot is an ardent champion of Dutilleux (1916-2013) and this beautifully recorded disc is a knockout.” 
  • In September 2013 as part of the free Day of Music celebration at Benaroya Hall, the Seattle Symphony presented the world premiere of the Potlatch Symphony. This new symphonic work was co-created and jointly performed by youth, elders and artists from several Pacific Northwest Native American Nations, together with Seattle Symphony musicians, and was the culmination of more than a year’s worth of collaboration. Through quarterly cultural exchange events, Seattle Symphony teaching artists and Native artists established a strong working relationship based on trust and respect, which led elders to give permission for the use of a sacred Native song in the public performances of the Potlatch Symphony. This beautiful and moving work will be performed for 800 delegates from orchestras all across the U.S. when Seattle hosts the League of American Orchestras Annual Conference in June 2014.


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.


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