Ludovic Morlot’s élan, elegance and intensity on stage have endeared him to audiences and orchestras worldwide, from the Berliner Philharmonic to the Boston Symphony. Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra since September 2021, he is concurrently Conductor Emeritus of the Seattle Symphony (where he was Music Director 2011-2019) and has also been Associate Artist of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra since 2019. He was Artistic Director and a founding member of the National Youth Orchestra of China 2017-2021, conducting their inaugural concerts at Carnegie Hall and in China in 2017, and touring with them to Europe in 2019. He was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie from 2012-2014 conducting new productions in Brussels and at the Aix Easter Festival - including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenufa and Pelléas et Mélisande.
This season Morlot takes the Barcelona Symphony to the Elbphilharmonie and Stockholm Royal Concert Hall. Together they will record all of Ravel’s orchestral works in a new edition co-edited by Morlot in to mark the 150th anniversary in 2025 of the composer’s birth. Guest highlights of 2023/24 include Strasbourg Philharmonic with Joyce di Donato, the North American premiere of Betsy Jolas' Latest with San Francisco, Bent Sorensen’s St Matthew Passion with the Danish National, and John Luther Adam’s Vespers with City of Birmingham Symphony. This season he also conducts a staged production of Rheingold at Seattle Opera, following on hugely successful concertante performances of Die Walküre and Samson et Dalila.
Morlot has previously guested with the Berliner Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Philharmonic, and Budapest Festival orchestras, and with many of the leading North American orchestras, notably the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago, and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestras. Morlot has a particularly strong connection with Boston, having been the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor at Tanglewood and subsequently appointed assistant conductor for the Boston Symphony. He has since conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts, at Tanglewood, and on a tour to the west coast of America. He has also appeared extensively in Asia and Australasia, notably with the Seoul Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. Festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Wien Modern, Edinburgh, Aspen, and Grant Park festivals.
Morlot’s tenure in Seattle formed a hugely significant period in the orchestra’s musical journey and he still returns for several weeks each season. His innovative programming encompassed not only his choice of repertoire and commissions, but theatrical productions and performances outside the traditional concert hall space. Some of these projects, including John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean, Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto performed by James Ehnes and an exploration of Dutilleux’s music, have earned the orchestra five Grammy Awards, as well as the distinction of being named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. Morlot has released 19 recordings with the Seattle Symphony Media label which was launched in 2014.
Trained as a violinist, he studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School (USA) with Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo. He continued his education in London at the Royal Academy and then at the Royal College as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. Ludovic is Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle and a Visiting Artist at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He sat on the jury of the Leeds International Piano Competition (2021) and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 in recognition of his significant contribution to music.
Seen and Heard International, January 2023
One of Morlot’s great strengths is his insistence on clarity from the orchestra. He expertly drew out the exoticism of Saint-Saëns, creating a vivid and dynamic soundscape that entranced the audience. The orchestra’s balance was impeccable, which allowed the singers to shine without distraction. Even in the final act, when the focus turns to the famous bacchanale, Morlot whipped up the needed wildness to convey the scene while keeping textures crystal clear.
De Volkskrant, 5 stars, February 2020
"Under Morlot, the [Netherlands] Radio Philharmonic combined thrust with wonderful fusions and once again showed convincingly what a great orchestra it is."
San Francisco Classical Voice, September 2019
"Morlot gave a bright and athletic account and did well to highlight Stravinsky’s exploration of colour … Morlot’s aptitude for rhythmic nuance and slight tempo variations yielded a performance that felt both in-control and spontaneous"