Ludovic Morlot, the incisive thirty-six-year-old French conductor who has made several notable appearances with the New York Philharmonic in the past four years, will be the next music director of the Seattle Symphony, according to an announcement that came over the wires a few minutes ago. A generational turnover at American orchestras continues: two weeks ago, the thirty-five-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin was chosen to take the reins of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Both appointments seem sound choices for ensembles that have gone through lean years: Seattle has long been treading water under the artistically uneven Gerard Schwarz, while the fabulous Philadelphians have experienced a well-publicized bout of financial, administrative, and artistic turmoil. If Nézet-Séguin has the edge in charisma, Morlot seems livelier in his tastes, having delivered lucid, vivid accounts of dense modern scores such as Tristan Murail's Gondwana. At Mostly Mozart this summer he will lead the International Contemporary Ensemble in a program of Purcell, Bach, Benjamin, Birtwistle, and Lachenmann; at Tanglewood he'll conduct Golijov's Three Songs. Seattle, no less than Los Angeles or New York, has a huge potential audience for adventurous programming — Morlot's task is to make the connection.
Photo: Jean Radel