The University of Washington Modern Music Ensemble, Cristina Valdés, director, performs works by Marc Andre Dalbavie, Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail, and the U.S. premiere performance of 'Wanderlied' by Betsy Jolas. With special guest conductor Seattle Symphony Music Director (and head of conducting at UW) Ludovic Morlot and faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir.
(Mario Torres, conductor)
Betsy Jolas: Wanderlied (U.S. Premiere Performance)
(with Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello, Ludovic Morlot conductor)
Pierre Boulez: Dérive 2
(Lorenzo Guggenheim, conductor)
Tristan Murail: Le Lac
(Ludovic Morlot, conductor)
Pianist Cristina Valdés presents innovative concerts of standard and experimental repertoire, and is known to “play a mean piano.” A fierce advocate for new music, she has premiered countless works, including many written for her. She has performed across four continents and in venues such as Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Valdés has appeared both as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals worldwide including New Music in Miami, the Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico City, Brisbane Arts Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music in El Salvador, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, and the Singapore Arts Festival.
An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Ms. Valdés has toured extensively with the Bang On a Can “All Stars”, and has performed with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Mabou Mines Theater Company, the Parsons Dance Company, and Antares. Her performances on both the Seattle Symphony’s Chamber Series and [UNTITLED] concerts have garnered critical acclaim, including her “knockout” (Seattle Times) performance of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and her “arrestingly eloquent performance” of Dutilleux’s Trois Preludes (Bernard Jacobson/MusicWeb International).
Ms. Valdés has appeared as concerto soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, NOCCO, Philharmonia Northwest, the Eastman BroadBand, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. In 2015 she performed the piano solo part of the Ives 4th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Ludovic Morlot, which was later released on CD to critical acclaim and made Gramophone’s list of Top 10 Ives Recordings. Other recent recordings include Orlando Garcia’s “From Darkness to Luminosity” with the Málaga Philharmonic on the Toccata Classics label, and the world premiere recording of Kotoka Suzuki’s “Shimmer, Tree | In Memoriam Jonathan Harvey”. She can also be heard on the Albany, Newport Classics, Urtext, and Ideologic Organ labels.
In recent seasons she gave performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, the world-premiere performance of Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez’s “Short Stories” for piano and string orchestra with the Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the U.S. Premiere of “Under Construction” for solo piano and tape playback by Heiner Goebbels at Benaroya Hall. Last season she was the featured soloist with the Seattle Symphony on two of their “[untitled]” new music series concerts.
Ms. Valdés received a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. She currently lives in Seattle where she founded the SLAM Festival, a new music festival dedicated to the music of Latin-American composers, and performs regularly as a member of the Seattle Modern Orchestra. She is an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and is the Director of the UW Modern Music Ensemble.
The French conductor Ludovic Morlot has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 2011. During the 2018/19 season the orchestra continues on its incredible musical journey, focusing particularly on the music of Debussy, and works by composers he influenced or that influenced him. Amongst others, newly commissioned works this season are Caroline Shaw’s Piano Concerto and the US premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds. The orchestra have many successful recordings, which have won two Grammy Awards. A box set of music by Dutilleux was recently released on their own label, Seattle Symphony Media, to mark the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
This season, Ludovic’s guest engagements include the Houston, Detroit, Melbourne and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras, and the Netherlands Radio, BBC and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras.
In 2018 his summer festival appearances included the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), the Caramoor Festival (Orchestra of St Luke’s), the Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Aspen Music Festival, where he is a regular guest.
He also has a particularly strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra having been the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor in 2001 at Tanglewood and subsequently appointed assistant conductor for the orchestra (2004-07). Since then he has conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts in Boston, at Tanglewood and on a tour to the west coast of America.
Recent and future debuts include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Symphony (Wien Modern Festival) and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestras. Ludovic has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London and on tour in Germany. In 2017 he conducted the inaugural concerts of the National Youth Orchestra of China in New York and China. Other recent notable performances have included the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Tonhalle, Budapest Festival, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras. Ludovic served as conductor in residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon under David Robertson (2002-04).
Ludovic was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie for three years (2012-2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenufa and Pelléas et Mélisande as well as concert performances in both Brussels and at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival.
Trained as a violinist, Ludovic studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School (USA) with Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo. He continued his education in London at the Royal Academy of Music and then at the Royal College of Music as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. Ludovic was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 in recognition of his significant contribution to music. He is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.
Icelandic-American cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir enjoys a varied career as a performer, collaborator and educator. She has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe and Asia. Sæunn has performed in many of the world’s prestigious halls including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Barbican Center and Disney Hall and the press have described her as “charismatic” and “riveting” (NYTimes) and praised her performances for their “emotional intensity” (LATimes).
An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, St. Lawrence and Cavani Quartets and has performed in numerous chamber music festivals, including Santa Fe, Seattle, Stellenbosch, Orcas Island, Bay Chamber, Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. She is cellist of the Seattle-based group, Frequency, and cellist and founding member of Decoda, The Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall.
In the 2018-2019 season, Sæunn makes her debut with the BBC and Seattle Symphonies performing the award-winning cello concerto,Quake, written for her by Páll Ragnar Pálsson. Chamber music appearances take her to Carnegie Hall in New York City, Glasgow, and Los Angeles, as well as recitals in Reykjavík, Seattle and Chicago following the Spring 2019 release of “Vernacular”, her recording of Icelandic solo cello music on the Sono Luminus label.
Highlights of the 2017-2018 season included the US premiere of Betsy Jolas’ Wanderlied and the Hong Kong premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Canticle of the Sun, as well as recitals and chamber music appearances in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Glasgow, London and Reykjavík. In addition to collaborating with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition Bow to String, Sæunn enjoys close working relationships with composers of our time such as Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Halldór Smárason, Melia Watras, Jane Antonia Cornish and Þuríður Jónsdóttir.
Sæunn has garnered numerous prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb. She received a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. Her teachers and mentors include Richard Aaron, Tanya Carey, Colin Carr and Joel Krosnick.
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Sæunn serves on the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching cello and chamber music. For more information, please visit www.saeunn.com
Mario Alejandro Torres a native of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is in his first year of doctoral studies at University of Washington, pursuing a degree in orchestral conducting under the mentorship of David Alexander Rahbee and Ludovic Morlot. Mario is co-conductor of UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras, and assistant conductor for UW Symphony Orchestra. Mario holds a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Ithaca College under the mentorship of Jeffery Meyer. As a violist, he holds a Bachelor (’13) and a Master (’14) of Music in Viola Performance from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Additionally, Mario has been a conducting student of Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School and Music Festival, where he has also served as an orchestral assistant. He has also performed in master classes led by Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, and Mark Stringer.
He has guest conducted Orquesta de Camara de San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the Eddy Snijders Orchestra in Paramaribo, Suriname, the Caddo Parish High School Honor Orchestra in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the Youth Orchestra of Académie Musicale Occide Jeanty in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti.
As a violist, Mario has soloed with Orquesta de Camara de San Pedro Sula, NSULA Symphony and Chamber orchestras, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, and the Monteux School and Music Festival. Mario has been a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and he performed with them in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, and England. He has been co-principal violist for Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and Shreveport Summer Music Festival. He has also play with Shreveport, Longview, Rapides, Marshall, and Costa Rica Symphony Orchestras. As an educator he has taught at Escuela de Música Victoriano Lopez in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Louisiana Academy of Music in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Mario also holds degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration, and completed a nine-month professional certificate program in Community Leadership, Teaching Artistry, and Social Entrepreneurship for musicians with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas’ Global Leaders Program.
Lorenzo Guggenheim is a young conductor and music student raised in Argentina. A pianist since childhood, he was trained in jazz and popular music as well as academic music. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Orchestra Conducting at the University of Washington School of Music under the mentorship of Senior Artist-in-Residence Dr. David Rahbee and Seattle Symphony’s Music Director Ludovic Morlot. Lorenzo is a teaching assistant at the UW, where he is co-conductor of the Campus Philharmonia orchestras and assistant conductor of UW Symphony Orchestra.
He graduated with Honors in 2014 from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina licensed in Orchestral Conducting. He also studied Contemporary Music Ensemble Conducting’s Diploma in Conservatorio de Musica “Manuel de Falla” in Buenos Aires. His professional debut came in 2012, conducting the Symphony Orchestra of the Catholic University of Argentina and since then he has conducted in some of the most important theaters in Argentina. In 2014 he conducted in the renowned Teatro Colon with the Academic Orchestra of its Institute for the Arts as parts of the “Interpretes Argentinos” Series. In the same year he performed as a guest conductor for the Compania Oblicua, a leading ensemble dedicated to contemporary music, with Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat at Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires.
After completing studies in Argentina, he traveled to the United States to continue his studies at the University of Washington, where he studied Choral Conducting with Dr. Giselle Wyers, Opera Conducting with Tom Harper, Advanced Jazz Studies with Coung Vu and Ted Poor, American Musical History with Larry Starr, and worked as a diction coach for the UW's December 2014 production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.