The Seattle Symphony has finally found a principal cellist. The spot has been vacant for years. Joining the section will be Efe Baltacıgil. Baltacigil comes from the Philadelphia Orchestra where he is the associate principal cellist. This is a good selection for the SSO, and it says much about the optimism many people in the music world have for Morlot at the SSO. But, it also says as much about the current state of disarray, reorganization, and decline of the once great Philadelphia Orchestra.
From the Seattle Symphony’s press release:
Seattle Symphony Music Director Designate Ludovic Morlot commented, “I am honored that Efe Baltacıgil will be joining the Seattle Symphony. Hiring such a talented artist is a very special occasion, and these opportunities are so important in the life of an orchestra. Efe is a superb musician, and his deep passion for everything he tackles is infectious. I am immensely looking forward to our new musical relationship. Welcome, Efe!”
Also in the news, Morlot has been named the chief conductor of Belgium’s La Monnaie. With this appointment, Morlot gets an operatic assignment to round out his orchestral assignment. La Monnaie is at the center of Europe’s opera culture and will cement the conductor’s already strong ties with the continent’s musical scene.
From the press release:
Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony’s new Music Director, has accepted an additional position as Chief Conductor of one of Europe’s leading opera houses — La Monnaie/De Munt — in Brussels, Belgium. The five-year appointment, commencing on January 1, 2012, will allow him to broaden his career as a conductor of opera, and add to his already impressive work with symphony orchestras. During his first full season at La Monnaie, starting in the fall 2012, his programs will include Alfred Bruneau’s Requiem as well as his first performances of Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande. La Monnaie’s historic and ongoing commitment to contemporary music means that Morlot will play a key role in commissioning new works. With this important appointment, Morlot will join the ranks of other music directors of American orchestras who also served (or are currently serving) as principal conductors of European opera houses, including Franz Welser-Möst, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti.
A quick note about the lack of posts on the Gathering Note. Personal and professional obligations have required the site to scale back some. In the life of any endeavor there are always periods of growth and contraction. I hope to resume a more regular blogging schedule in the fall.