Seattle Symphony’s genre-inclusive “Sonic Evolution”

Posted on: October 19, 2011

In Friday’s (10/14) Seattle Times, Tom Keogh writes, “It’s a perennial challenge for symphony orchestras everywhere: how to get people who’ve never heard Haydn, Schubert or Mahler played in a concert hall to come hear anything at all. … ‘Sonic Evolution’ is a strong signal from new [Seattle Symphony Orchestra] music director Ludovic Morlot that he means it when he says good music is good music, and distinctions can miss a larger point. ‘You have a right to like Beethoven and Nirvana equally, passionately,’ he says. ‘But if Beethoven intimidates you, you still have a right to experience live symphonic sound.’ The aim of ‘Sonic Evolution’ is to provide that experience for diverse listeners with four world premieres sweetened by a common bond. Three of the original pieces, all commissioned by Seattle Symphony, are homages to music legends closely associated with this city: musician-producer Quincy Jones, guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana’s lead singer-songwriter Kurt Cobain. A fourth commissioned work, Phillip A. Peterson’s ‘Savana,’ is a showcase for rising Seattle band Hey Marseilles, which will perform it with the full orchestra in the show’s second half. … ‘You’re not going to hear a melody or tune from Jones or Cobain,’ says Morlot. ‘It’s more encompassing the spirit of those artists in an original symphonic piece.’ ”

Posted October 19, 2011