The fastest rising US orchestra of 2014

The fastest rising US orchestra of 2014


norman lebrecht

December 01, 2014

This has not been a red-letter year for the concert sector.

Aside from Boston and Houston, with exciting new music directors, the rest of the orchestral league worried about a rash of industrial disputes and trod water on the creative side.

With one notable exception.

An orchestra with a best-selling album of contemporary music, with challenging programmes and a healthy budget.

An orchestra with stable internal relations, a conductor who’s going places, a supportive board and an audience that’s not half-dead.

Hmmmmm …. lemme think. Hint: Its latest release is my album of the week on Click here.



  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    The orchestra you mention and reviewed for a new cd, has always been one of the most respected. I remember their survey of works by Howard Hanson for Delos–including his terrific Piano Concerto which only a few include in their list. Wonderful orchestra on the rise.

  • sdReader says:

    Years ago, this orchestra, in Seattle, left the AFM, the main musicians union. I imagine that lowered its costs, but perhaps not.

    • MWnyc says:

      The Seattle Symphony musicians’ forming their own separate union certainly made it possible for the orchestra to release a long series of recordings on the Naxos label, many of them featuring unrecorded American music, that would not otherwise have been made at all.

      • Sixtus says:

        To give credit where it is due, most of the Seattle recordings on Naxos were originally recorded and released by Delos.

  • MWnyc says:

    Well, it is easier be be fast-rising from a lower level, and that orchestra has been coming off a long period of artistic stagnation.

  • MacroV says:

    I think Seattle long ago stopped being a remote outpost of any kind. The Symphony was actually doing interesting things 30 years ago when it bounced back from near-bankruptcy, in the early years of Gerard Schwarz’ tenure, when he was still a promising young conductor.

    In any case, why shouldn’t a place like Seattle have an orchestra every bit as good as in Cleveland or Philadelphia? There’s less tradition, but more money, and no less sophisticated an audience.

    • MWnyc says:

      True, Seattle is no remote outpost anymore.

      It probably seems remote when viewed from Europe, although it’s considerably nearer to most of Europe than Los Angeles is.

  • Dennis Marks says:

    Seattle is full of surprises and treats. The Seattle SO has a very impressive track record in taking the unexpected path. For several decades under Speight Jenkins the opera gave the Met and LA a run for their money. It’s a vibrant multi-cultural city – just a bit cold at this time of the year.