FOR RELEASE Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ludovic Morlot Explores Musical Legacy of Seattle with World Premiere Works Inspired by Local Music Legends, Plus Performance by Band Hey Marseilles


Sonic Evolution

Seattle, WA – On Tuesday, October 18, Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony will present Sonic Evolution, a groundbreaking musical project to celebrate Seattle’s storied cultural and artistic tradition. The Orchestra will perform newly-commissioned pieces inspired by Nirvana, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix, composed by William Brittelle, Cuong Vu and Vladimir Nikolaev. After this symphonic nod to Seattle’s musical legacy, popular local band Hey Marseilles, which has collaborated with composer Phillip Peterson, will perform a world premiere and new arrangements of their works with the Seattle Symphony. The band will also perform several solo selections. Sonic Evolution will take place on Tuesday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall. Tickets are available from $19 to $58.

About Sonic Evolution
Designed by Ludovic Morlot and Seattle Symphony Board Chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly, Sonic Evolution is a project of cross-pollination. It combines the city’s musical past (Seattle legends from Jimi Hendrix to Quincy Jones to Nirvana) with the present and future (Seattle band Hey Marseilles); and the international (composers from around the globe), with the local (Seattle’s own Symphony). This program is also part of Morlot’s artistic mission to create music that crosses barriers, and over the past year the Seattle Symphony has commissioned pieces from local and nationally-known composers that celebrate three of Seattle’s musical icons. The Symphony hopes to use this new music to enrich worldwide knowledge of Seattle’s music scene and develop connections with new audiences. When the concert ends, the project lives on: the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform one of commissions in a future performance.

Hey Marseilles
Critically acclaimed as “...beautiful and dynamic, ranging from lamenting cello to joyful trumpets and everything in between,” the Hey Marseilles sound is immediate, evocative, mostly acoustic and always emotive. It’s classically-trained brothers Sam and Jacob Anderson on cello and viola, their strings grand and mournful on the sweeping title track of To Travels and Trunks. It’s the wheeze and moan of Philip Kobernik’s accordion, opening the gorgeous From a Terrace, and his kid-at-a-carnival Rhodes on the 6/8 spin of Gasworks. It’s Nick Ward’s electric guitar on the epic Calabasas, stretching into the distance like an open road. It’s the Dixieland swagger of Patrick Brannon’s trumpet on the uptempo lead single Rio. It’s a songwriter’s urgent expression via vocalist Matt Bishop, expanded with huge singalong choruses and unraveled by a virtuoso band’s sinuous arrangements. It’s modern vintage, a folk-pop jam session at a vanished cabaret on the Seine, an indie rocker’s fantasy of his grandparents’ first kiss. By developing this sound — a process captured on To Travels and Trunks — Hey Marseilles discovered that the band isn’t any one of these things but all of them. And none of them, too.

Hey Marseilles have headlined countless slots at local clubs and won appearances at major Northwest festivals such as Bumbershoot, Capitol Hill Block Party and Doe Bay Fest. Their single, Rio, was recently Song of the Day at NPR,, and KEXP.

The Cuong Vu Group
The Cuong Vu Group is comprised of four Seattle-based musicians. Cuong Vu, widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians, has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Cibo Matto and Mitchell Froom. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group, and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s Come Play with Me on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time.” Vu studied under full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, and is currently an assistant professor in jazz studies at the University of Washington.

Pianist Gus Carns has rapidly emerged as one of Seattle’s most creative and in-demand young pianists. While still in high school, Carns played throughout the western United States, Europe, and New York City, where he repeatedly won acclaim as a soloist at the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition. A student at the University of Washington, Carns lends his talents to an eclectic variety of musical projects. In particular, he has worked closely with trombonist and composer Andy Clausen in his sextet, his more recent Wishbone Ensemble, and a new quintet co-led by trumpeter Riley Mulherkar.

Bassist Luke Bergman has garnered critical acclaim on a national and international level for his work with The Cuong Vu Group, Heartwarmer, Speak, and Thousands. Bergman is also dedicated to the development of the local music community and serves as co-creator, organizer and artistic director of The Racer Sessions, a weekly performance series that is devoted to the advancement of avant-garde music in Seattle by providing a place for artists to interact and inspire each other on a regular basis. Bergman also serves as a board member, producer, recording engineer and co-founder of Table & Chairs, a not-for-profit, independent record label that documents and promotes creative music in Seattle.

In the few years since percussionist Evan Woodle has emerged from the internationally-acclaimed Roosevelt High School jazz program in Seattle, he has lent his unique talents to ensembles containing Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu and Andrew D’Angelo, setting himself apart as a luminary amid a constellation of young innovative musicians. In addition to functioning as a driving force behind several bands (including AGOGIC, Operation ID, and Chemical Clock), Woodle is one of the co-founders of The Racer Sessions, and also serves as a board member of Table & Chairs.

Program Information
Vladimir Nikolaev is a Russian composer of stage, orchestral, chamber, vocal and electroacoustic works that have been performed in Europe and the U.S. He writes, “The Sinewaveland presents my homage to the great musician Jimi Hendrix. Back in my youth, while playing the solo guitar in a school ensemble, I was fascinated with his music. I’m happy that several decades later, his musical legacy still inspires me — enough to create my own symphonic composition. In my composition I avoided direct quotes from Hendrix’s music, but the score is permeated with his intonations and rhythms.”

Seattle-based Cuong Vu writes of his work ONE, “Quincy Jones’s influence is far-reaching. His output is vast, varied and prolific. I knew, as soon as I was asked to write a piece in tribute to Quincy, that it would be impossible to live up to it all. So, instead of trying to encompass all of his works in a single 15-minute piece, I chose to focus on just one of Jones’s many periods of musical output — hence, the title ONE. It’s always my aim to make any and all musical elements that influence me into something I can call my own while still blurring the connections.”

William Brittelle has spent the majority of his artistic life attempting to bridge the gap between popular music and New York City’s revitalized classical scene. Of his commission, Brittelle writes, “Obituary Birthday: A Requiem for Kurt Cobain focuses on what are, for me, the defining traits of Nirvana’s music: contrast and contradiction — most simply, the extreme juxtaposition of loud and soft without transition that came to in part define the ‘alternative’ rock sound of the 1990s….Obituary Birthday: A Requiem for Kurt Cobain focuses on what are, for me, the defining traits of Nirvana’s music: contrast and contradiction — most simply, the extreme juxtaposition of loud and soft without transition that came to in part define the ‘alternative’ rock sound of the 1990s.”

Seattle-based composer Phillip Peterson studied cello with Richard Aaron and Raymond Davis, and began touring Europe as a cellist at age 17. He wrote many works for the Grace Seattle Experimental
Orchestra and has conducted his and other works several times in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Regarding his Sonic Evolution works, he writes, “During collaboration with Hey Marseilles in developing the vision for Savana, the goal was to engage the audience beyond a mere watching of a performance. We want to engulf the imagination of the listener in a remote, lush environment, where the individual feels a great sense of nature and beauty. …Building Glare and Elegy are songs from the upcoming Hey Marseilles record that I have orchestrated in order to further delve into the philosophy behind Sonic Evolution, particularly to connect with new audiences and to reflect a broader sense of culture and musical identity for Seattle.”

About the Seattle Symphony
The Seattle Symphony, now presenting its 109th season, has gained international prominence with more than 140 recordings, twelve GRAMMY® nominations and two Emmys. The 2011–2012 Season is the inaugural year for Music Director Ludovic Morlot, who was appointed to the position in 2010. The Seattle Symphony performs in one of the world’s finest concert venues—the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle—and is recognized for its innovative programming, devotion to the classics, and extensive recording catalog. From September through July, the Symphony is heard live by more than 315,000 people.

Ticket Information
Tickets from $19 to $58 can be purchased by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747 or (866) 833-4747 outside the local calling area, faxing the Symphony at (206) 215-4748, ordering online or visiting the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall at Third Avenue and Union Street, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free public tours of Benaroya Hall occur every Tuesday and Friday at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. and depart from the south end of The Boeing Company Gallery, at the entrance to the Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.

Ludovic Morlot, conductor
The Cuong Vu Group
    Cuong Vu, trumpet
    Gus Carns, piano
    Luke Bergman, bass
    Evan Woodle, percussion
Hey Marseilles
    Matthew Bishop, Nick Ward, Samuel Anderson, Jacob Anderson, Colin Richie, Philip Kobernik, Patrick Brannon
Seattle Symphony

The Sinewaveland: Homage to Jimi Hendrix (World Premiere)

ONE (World Premiere)
    The Cuong Vu Group

Obituary Birthday: A requiem for Kurt Cobain (World Premiere)


/arr. Phillip A. Peterson

Building Glare
    Hey Marseilles

/arr. Phillip A. Peterson

    Hey Marseilles

Savana (World Premiere)
    Hey Marseilles

The second half of the concert will also include solo selections performed by Hey Marseilles.

This concert is sponsored by The Boeing Company.

Sonic Evolution is a Civic Partner Program of the City of Music initiative. For more information, visit

Cuong Vu’s ONE, Vladimir Nikolaev’s The Sinewaveland: Homage to Jimi Hendrix, William Brittelle’s Obituary Birthday: A requiem for Kurt Cobain and Phillip A. Peterson’s Savana are commissioned by the Seattle Symphony as part of its Sonic Evolution project.