Ludovic Morlot

Conductor Emeritus, Seattle Symphony

Associate Artist, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Artistic Director, National Youth Orchestra of China

© Sim Canetty-Clarke


Following eight years as Music Director, Ludovic Morlot is now Conductor Emeritus of the Seattle Symphony. Ludovic’s innovative programming encompassed not only his choice of repertoire, but theatrical productions and performances outside the traditional concert hall space. There were numerous collaborations with musicians from different genres, commissions and world premieres. Under Ludovic’s baton, 19 recordings were released under the Seattle Symphony Media label, the orchestra received five Grammy Awards, and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year.

Since 2019 Ludovic is an Associate Artist of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he has had a close relationship over many years. Ludovic is also Artistic Director and a founding member of the National Youth Orchestra of China. In 2019 he led their European Tour, having conducted their inaugural concerts in New York and China two years earlier.

In the 2020-21 season Ludovic makes his debut with Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, Barcelona Symphony and the Royal Scottish National Orchestras, and makes return visits to the Bergen Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Iceland Symphony and the West Australian Symphony Orchestras.

Ludovic has conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Staaksapelle, London Philharmonic, Budapest Festival, Seoul Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and  Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. He has appeared at the BBC Proms, Wien Modern, Edinburgh and Aspen Festivals. Other recent notable performances have included the New York Philharmonic, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Ludovic has a particularly strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts in Boston, at Tanglewood and on a tour to the west coast of America.

Ludovic was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie (2012-2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenufa and Pelléas et Mélisande.


Video & Audio

From The Green Room


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    03 Sep 19 Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Hollywood Bowl

    “Morlot gave a bright and athletic account and did well to highlight Stravinsky’s [Petrushka] exploration of colour… Morlot’s aptitude for rhythmic nuance and slight tempo variations yielded a performance that felt both in-control and spontaneous.”

    Ben Kutner, San Francisco Classical Voice, September 2019

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    04 Jul 19 John Luther Adams Become Desert CD release Seattle Symphony

    “This is a very different orchestral journey from Adams’s previous masterpiece, but one that’s just as rewarding in this superb, beautifully recorded performance.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, July 2019

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    23 Jun 19 Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Creating ambience is one of Morlot’s specialities, which he has consistently demonstrated over his years with the orchestra. He never disappoints in this regard, and this particular interpretation [of Debussy’s Nocturnes] was marked by extraordinary delicacy.”

    Erica Miner, Bachtrack, June 2019

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    13 May 19 Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
    Auckland Town Hall

    “French conductor Ludovic Morlot kept it [Lili Boulanger’s D’un matin de printemps] all gloriously airborne, with just the right balance of chiselled precision and evanescent poetry.”

    William Dart, New Zealand Herald, May 2019

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    18 Mar 19 Bach Mass in B minor Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Morlot gathered all the components together seamlessly from the resplendent choral fugues topped by brilliant silvery trumpets, to the elegant interludes of the vocal arias and duets, which often feature instrumental solos in counter-melodic obbligato.”

    John Carroll, Opera Wire, March 2019

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    11 Mar 19 Houston Symphony
    Jones Hall

    “He demonstrated a keen ear for his countrymen’s complex, tantalizing orchestrations — not just Debussy’s profoundly influential 1905 conjuring of the Mediterranean, but two lesser-known pieces by Hector Berlioz and an obscure gem by early-20th-century composer Albert Roussel.”

    Chris Gray, Houston Chronicle, March 2019

    HECTOR BERLIOZ: Béatrice et Bénédict Overture
    HECTOR BERLIOZ: Les Nuits d’été
    ALBERT ROUSSEL: Le festin de l’araignée Op. 17

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    30 Nov 18 Berio, Boulez & Ravel CD release Seattle Symphony

    “Morlot is, as always, a punctilious conductor. Listen, say, to the jittery precision with which the brass and piano volley starting at 1’05” in the fifth movement. And, in fact, in Morlot’s hands, the entire finale becomes a study in texture, the cumulative effect subtly shifting the work’s centre of gravity away from the third movement to provide a riveting and immensely satisfying conclusion.”

    Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone Magazine, November 2019

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    15 Aug 18 BBC Proms City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Royal Albert Hall

    “His fine hold over the architecture of the piece [Lili Boulanger Psalm 130 (“Du fond de l’abime”)] paid dividends, drawing out the finest touches from the delicate instrumentation while applying full force in the terrifying, heartfelt pleas… This was a rich and soulful performance, with a great deal of substance.”

    Mark Thomas, Bachtrack, August 2018

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    03 Aug 18 Sydney Symphony Orchestra
    Sydney Opera House

    “The SSO were in wonderful form under the energetic and engaging Morlot.”

    Steve Moffatt, The Daily Telegraph, August 2018

    “Ludovic Morlot and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra produced iridescent colours and biting flamenco-inspired rhythms. [de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain]”

    Murray Black, The Australian, August 2018

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    30 Jun 18 Caramoor Festival Orchestra of St. Luke's

    “The conductor Ludovic Morlot, departing next year as the music director of the thriving Seattle Symphony, began with a bracing account of Smetana’s “Dance of the Comedians.”… an exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.”

    Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, July 2018

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    06 Jun 18 George Perle: Orchestral Music CD Seattle Symphony, Bridge Records

    “American cellist Jay Campbell is expressive and assured, conductor Ludovic Morlot balances all wonderfully, and the Seattle Symphony shines. The clever Dance Fantasy (1986) rounds off this remarkable disc.”

    Roger Knox, The Whole Note, June 2018

    “Listen, for instance, to the way in which he [Morlot] gives the fifth of the Six Bagatelles (composed in 1965) ample time to breathe; to find and make its own way as it develops… for Morlot and the Orchestra to bring out what is distinctive to Perle yet reflect his homage is a triumph.”

    Mark Sealey, Musicweb International, June 2018

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    24 May 18 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Symphony Hall

    “Prokofiev’s irresistible Fifth Symphony made a spectacular conclusion. Morlot built its long reflective passages patiently, and released the music’s balletic subtext colourfully.”

    Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 24 May 2018

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    09 Apr 18 John Luther Adams Become Desert Seattle Symphony
    Zellerbach Hall

    “Morlot controlled his huge performing forces with subdued fervour, here and in a follow-up reading of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, notable for its granitic pacing and attention to instrumental detail. The low strings in particular wanted nothing in expressive eloquence. Morlot completes his eight-year contract in Seattle in mid-2019. He will not be easily replaced.”

    Allan Ulrich, Financial Times, 9 April 2018

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    30 Mar 18 John Luther Adams Become Desert Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Mr. Morlot’s affection for the work’s expressive richness came through clearly. Though the piece doesn’t advertise its complexity, it’s easy to imagine a performance of such airily arranged music seeming scattered or listless. The Seattle Symphony never sounded at a loss, though. The audience allowed the piece’s concluding return toward spareness to ring out fully before charging in with enthusiastic applause.”

    Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times, 30 March 2018

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    22 Mar 18 Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Crammed with beautiful melodies, picturesque episodes and grand statements, the Second Symphony challenges every section of the orchestra to excel individually and collectively…In the last few bars of the Sibelius symphony, when the minor key transforms into the major and it sounds as if the sun has come out, the orchestra played exultantly enough to remind even the most jaded audience member: This is why we go to concerts and don’t just sit at home in front of the stereo speakers.”
    Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, 23 March 2018

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    19 Oct 17 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    Atlanta Symphony Hall

    “Morlot and the ASO rounded out the program with a sure-fire winner, Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse,” giving the composer’s rambunctious, off-center take on the ballroom dance a particularly exhilarating, exuberant rendering that deservedly brought the house to its feet.”
    Mark Gresham, ArtsATL, 20 October 2017

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    23 Jul 17 National Youth Orchestra of China
    Carnegie Hall

    “… Mr. Morlot drew a vibrant account of Dvorak’s New World Symphony from the well-prepared players, with full-bodied string tone, folkloric charm and lots of brio.”
    Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 23 July 2017

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    25 Jun 17 RAVEL & DE FALLA CD release Seattle Symphony

    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Steven Osborne (piano), Hyperion Records

    “The French conductor brings stylistic flair to Ravel’s bluesy melodies, and the orchestra and Osborne revel in the cascading chords and cakewalky rhythmic piquancy of the D major’s central section.”
    The Sunday Times, Album of the week, 25 June 2017

    “I would go so far as to suggest that this is the finest modern recording of both concertos… Osborne and Morlot catch a much more vivid and nicely drawn Iberian feel to the music. This is the one to have.”
    ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ International Piano, September – October 2017

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    05 Jan 17 Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Morlot made its themes of a divine cosmic resonance spellbinding [MESSIAEN Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine]. He drew out Messiaen’s potent contrasts of meter-defying melody and hectic rhythmic activity, of wild wonder and blissful contemplation. A very different cosmos might have come into view with a more old-fashioned reading of Beethoven’s Ninth. But … Morlot elicited a revelatory transparency of texture in the first movement. It illuminated many a fresh angle in Beethoven’s transformation of his material.”
    Thomas May, The Seattle Times, 6th January 2017