Harriet Overton Stimson Music Director
Music Director of the Seattle Symphony, Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard is esteemed for his creativity and innovative programming, the excitement of his live performances and his extensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings. His programming in recent seasons have seen an increased focus on context, exploring the influences found in folk and liturgical music on orchestral works by a range of composers including Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Nielsen and Bartók.
Performing internationally with many of the world’s leading orchestras, Dausgaard is also the Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also holds titles as Honorary Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana (ORT) and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, having previously served as its Chief Conductor from 2004–11; and Conductor Laureate of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, having served as Chief Conductor from 1997–2019.
A renowned recording artist, Dausgaard’s releases with the Seattle Symphony have garnered critical acclaim resulting in international honors including a 2017 Gramophone Award nomination for Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Deryck Cooke version), Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year Award, and a 2019 Best Orchestral Performance Grammy nomination for Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4. An avid champion of contemporary works and the music of his homeland, Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony are releasing the much-anticipated cycle of symphonies by Carl Nielsen throughout his tenure. His most recent release with the orchestra couples Rued Langgaard’s Prelude to Antichrist with Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony.
Other recording projects include Sibelius’ Kullervo with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for Hyperion; a multi-disc survey of Bartók’s orchestral music with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for Onyx; and Brahms symphonies with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos combined with six newly commissioned companion works also with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and Bruckner symphonies with the Bergen Philharmonic, all for BIS.
In total, he has made well over 70 CDs to date, including complete cycles of symphonies by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Rued Langgaard, and a disc of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s orchestral repertoire with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Da Capo. Opening Doors, his ground-breaking series for BIS with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, has consistently won praise for performances of 19th-century repertoire more usually associated with symphony orchestras.
In the early part of his career he studied with Leonard Bernstein and assisted Seiji Ozawa, and now regularly appears with the world’s leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony, BBC Symphony, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchester, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Vienna Symphony.
He began his North American career as Assistant Conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has since appeared with the Baltimore Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and the Washington National Symphony Orchestra.
He is also a regular visitor to Asia and Australia, appearing with the Singapore and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphonies; the New Japan, China and Hong Kong Philharmonics; and the Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies. Festival appearances have included the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, George Enescu Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Salzburg Festival and Tanglewood.
Dausgaard has been awarded the Cross of Chivalry by the Queen of Denmark and elected to the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden. His interests beyond music are wide-ranging, and include architecture, landscape, and a love of learning the life and culture of different communities. He is based in Denmark with his family.
Together, Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony have released several critically-acclaimed albums exploring music by Langgaard, Mahler, Nielsen and Strauss.