Here are some key details:
Founding and History The Seattle Symphony was founded in 1903 and has since grown into a world-class ensemble recognized for its deep relationships with the community and commitment to artistic innovation.
Initially a part-time ensemble of local musicians, the Symphony gradually began to attract renowned conductors and artists. With the support of the community, it grew in stature and recognition.
Venue The orchestra performs in the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall, located in downtown Seattle. The Hall, which opened in 1998, is renowned for its stunning architecture and superb acoustics. It houses two performance halls: the large S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and the smaller, more intimate Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall.
Music Directors The Seattle Symphony has had a succession of notable music directors. Some of them include:
- Henry Hadley (1909–1911)
- Sir Thomas Beecham (1941–1943)
- Milton Katims (1954–1976)
- Gerard Schwarz (1985–2011)
- Ludovic Morlot (2011–2019)
- Thomas Dausgaard (2019–present as of my knowledge cutoff in 2021)
Under their leadership, the orchestra has evolved, taking on more complex works and challenging programming.
Performances and Recordings The Seattle Symphony gives around 200 performances each year, playing a wide range of repertoire from the baroque to the present day. This includes not just the standard symphonic and operatic repertoire, but also works by contemporary composers.
The Symphony has a strong commitment to new music and has commissioned and premiered many works by living composers. It has a particular focus on music by American composers, and it has won several Grammy Awards for its recordings of music by contemporary American composers.
The Seattle Symphony’s recordings have received high critical acclaim. Since the launch of its in-house record label, Seattle Symphony Media, the Symphony has made a commitment to recording live performances and has garnered multiple Grammy nominations and wins.
Education and Community Engagement The Seattle Symphony has robust education and community engagement programs, which aim to bring classical music to a wider audience, foster a love of music in young people, and engage with diverse communities across the region. Programs include family concerts, school concerts, community concerts, masterclasses, and other outreach activities.
Seattle Symphony Chorale The Seattle Symphony Chorale serves as the official chorus of the Seattle Symphony. Over its history, it has grown in size and stature, now being considered one of the finest symphony choruses in the world.