Major Symphonic Work Expresses Composer’s
Hope for a Future without Violence
Seattle, WA — In response to recent world events, the Seattle Symphony released Giya Kancheli’s emotional new work, Nu.Mu.Zu for Orchestra, today for free streaming and download. The work conveys the composer’s struggle with comprehending violence and his hopes for a better future. Conducted by the Seattle Symphony’s French Music Director, Ludovic Morlot, Nu.Mu.Zu was recorded live at its U.S. premiere a week before the events in Paris and Beirut. To stream or download the recording, click here.
Morlot shared, “Earlier this month, we were deeply touched by Nu.Mu.Zu, and by the sentiments Kancheli expressed about his hopes for a world without violence. After the recent terrorist attacks in my home country of France, and elsewhere, we felt strongly that this music should go out into the world and be shared with everyone.”
Nu.Mu.Zu means “I don’t know” in the ancient language of Sumerian, which is from the Mesopotamian region, or modern-day Iraq. Kancheli shared the following reflection about the piece, “What is happening in the world is gradually, step by step, destroying the last hope in my consciousness, without which, for all of us, life loses its meaning. ‘I don't know’ what will happen in the future. However, having lost hope, I keep dreaming about a world in which fanaticism, sectarian strife and violence are no longer the dominant features of world order.”
“In light of recent events, we decided to bypass our usual record label distribution process to let this deeply moving composition be heard by as many people across the world as possible,” added Seattle Symphony President & CEO Simon Woods. “The beauty of this music and Kancheli’s plea for peace is very timely as Americans go into the Thanksgiving holiday, with thoughts for those across the world who are living through frightening and challenging times.”
Program notes by Seattle Symphony Annotator Paul Schiavo can be downloaded here.
The release of Nu.Mu.Zu for Orchestra is made possible through the generosity of Martin Selig.
The Seattle Symphony’s performances of Giya Kancheli’s Nu.Mu.Zu for Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Ludovic Morlot, were recorded live during the November 5, 6 and 7, 2015, performances in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium in Benaroya Hall. It was edited and produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Dmitriy Lipay, in consultation with the composer. Nu.Mu.Zu was co-commissioned by the Seattle Symphony and the National Orchestra of Belgium. The world premiere took place in Brussels in October 2015 under Andrey Boreyko. Nu.Mu.Zu is published by Sikorski Music Publishers.
This recording is being released for free streaming and download on the Seattle Symphony Media label, through SoundCloud.
French conductor Ludovic Morlot is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony. There have been many highlights during his first four seasons in this position, including an exhilarating performance at Carnegie Hall in May 2014, as reported in The New York Times: “The performance Mr. Morlot coaxed from his players was rich with shimmering colors and tremulous energy.”
During the 2015–2016 season he leads the Seattle Symphony in a wide variety of works including the launch of a two-year cycle of Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos; Berio's Sinfonia featuring vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth; Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4; Mahler’s Symphony No. 1; and Fauré’s Requiem. Complemented by the Seattle Symphony’s highly innovative series, Untuxed and [untitled], this season will also see the release of several more recordings on the Orchestra’s label, Seattle Symphony Media.
Morlot was also Chief Conductor of La Monnaie, one of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses, for three years (2012–2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenůfa and Pelléas et Mélisande. Concert performances, both in Brussels and Aix-en-Provence, included repertoire by Beethoven, Britten, Bruneau, Stravinsky and Webern.
Trained as a violinist, Morlot studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then at the Royal College of Music as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. Morlot 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 and lives in Seattle with his wife, Ghizlane, and their two children.
The Seattle Symphony is one of America's leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season, including John Luther Adams' recent Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received 18 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.