SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Symphony honors Thomas Dausgaard, whose defining 12-year partnership alongside the Symphony comes to a close with the announcement today of his decision to step away from his role as its Music Director, ahead of his originally planned final season in 2022/2023. Dausgaard, who appeared regularly as a guest conductor since 2010 and became Principal Guest Conductor in 2014, began his tenure as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony in 2019. Dausgaard’s collaboration with the Symphony for over a decade has earned widespread acclaim, marked by innovative programming, championing of music by composers of today and Grammy-nominated recordings. Of the decision to now step away from the music directorship, Dausgaard said, “For more than a decade, I’ve cherished my partnership with the inspired, collaborative musicians of the Seattle Symphony and with the wonderful community that we serve. The great people of Seattle are truly among the world’s most engaged, enthusiastic audiences and each concert experience with them has been deeply rewarding.

“There are no words to express the joy I experienced making music together with the orchestra in November, when we were reunited after 19 months apart. The homecoming — after so many months of pandemic-related travel restrictions — was quite something, and I will forever cherish that moment. The global challenges of these years have impacted each of us, our beloved Seattle Symphony and all of society. After much reflection, I have made the decision to step away from my role as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony.

“My partnership with Seattle has been rewarding beyond measure. My decision to step away at this moment when we’ve realized such collective artistic success is a result of these pandemic times, which centers the question for us all: how do we value our lives? I have enjoyed immensely my life with the Seattle Symphony, and it is time for me to move on.

“I wish the very best in 2022 — and long into the future — for the Seattle Symphony and for the many individuals whose talents, generosity, engagement and friendship I will forever cherish with great fondness.”

“Thomas Dausgaard has been an absolutely extraordinary partner to us,” said Seattle Symphony President and CEO, Krishna Thiagarajan. “The pandemic has been a time of great challenge and selfreflection for us all, and so we understand and respect his decision. As we look to our path ahead, we recognize the transformational impact Thomas has had in Seattle and will collaborate closely with our
musicians to secure his replacement and ensure that the Symphony continues its upward trajectory of artistic growth and excellence.” Additionally, Symphony Board Chair Jon Rosen said, “Thomas Dausgaard is a true visionary who has had a lasting impact on the Seattle Symphony community. His more than a decade conducting and leading our orchestra has been marked by artistic success and a genuine, enthusiastic connection with musicians and audiences alike. Our gratitude and good wishes go to Thomas as he moves forward.”

Highlights of Dausgaard’s tenure with the Seattle Symphony include notable projects brought to the Benaroya Hall stage, many of which were commissions, as well as some that were sidelined due to the global pandemic. Such outstanding programs included recent and planned performances of works by composers Hans Abrahamsen, Enrico Chapela, Francisco Coll, Charles Corey, Brett Dean, Tan Dun, Reena Esmail, Janice Giteck, Helen Grime, Rued Langgaard, Angélica Negrón, Olga Neuwirth, Angelique Poteat, Ellen Reid, Tyshawn Sorey and Simon Steen-Andersen. As Music Director, Dausgaard introduced his signature ‘Roots’ series, which spotlighted dialogue between artistic traditions and contextualized works like Sibelius’ Kullervo and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with folk music, and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 with orthodox chant. In the same artistic spirit, Dausgaard was set to debut with the Seattle Symphony in this current season his new take on the Sibelius Cycle, in which leading composers of today are invited to create new works inspired by and paired with each of Sibelius’ symphonies.

Seattle Symphony recordings with Dausgaard have also consistently received critical acclaim, including this year’s Grammy nomination of their album “Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra; Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy.” Previous lauded recordings include Mahler Symphony No. 10, Nielsen Symphonies Nos. 1–4 and Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions.” Dausgaard’s passion about music’s engagement with society and the issues of today also inspired new Symphony collaborations with Seattle-area youth and community organizations, including Potlach Symphony 2020, created jointly with artists of the Coast Salish tribes.

With Dausgaard’s departure, the Seattle Symphony remains committed to adventurous programming, building on the excellence Dausgaard has inspired. The Symphony will soon welcome several acclaimed guest conductors to step in at Benaroya Hall and continue the Symphony’s adventurous 2021/2022 season. Programming updates for the current season will be announced shortly.