The city of Seattle
is in for a rare musical treat when the
Northwest Mahler Orchestra presents Messiaen’s
Turangalila Symphony for the first time ever in
Simon, conductor for the symphony, is excited
for this opportunity to share his love of music
“We hope the
cultured audience in Seattle will appreciate
this once-in-a-lifetime performance,” Simon
native of Australia who now resides in London,
said he was discovered in Seattle while
promoting his CD and was asked to conduct the
Northwest Mahler Festival.
approached by someone asking me if I was
familiar with the Mahler Festival and if I’d be
interested in conducting it,” Simon said. The
orchestra is comprised of people who “play with
a great intensity,” according to Simon.
Jay Gottlieb had the opportunity to work with
Olivier Messiaen when he was still alive.
“[Messiaen] knew exactly what he meant and
wanted,” Gottlieb said. “He wrote a song of
love. The piece is definitely over the top. It’s
said Messiaen wrote this symphony for his wife,
inspired by the myth of Tristan and Isolde. “Its
fortes are the loudest you’ll ever hear, and the
trumpets sounds like Gabriel and you’re in
heaven,” Gottlieb said. “It’s very stimulating
and Simon were introduced to each other through
the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation, which is
sponsoring Gottlieb’s appearance at the
Northwest Mahler Festival. The organization is
one that finds and promotes young talents.
Frenchman Thomas Bloch will be playing a rare
treasure in the symphony. Bloch is an ondes
Martenot specialist who plays one of the only
370 instruments ever made. Bloch described the
instrument as one that looks like a keyboard
with strings. In addition to playing the ondes
Martenot, Bloch also plays the glass harmonica
and crystal Baschet. He was asked to perform
Messiaen’s Symphony with the orchestra by Simon.
Bloch said the group has been rehearsing for one
Bloch, who has
performed with both Radiohead and the Gorillaz,
said his repertoire spans many genres of music.
“I get to play Messiaen one day and Motzart
another — it’s a good balance,” said Bloch.
The orchestra is
comprised of about 100 musicians, including both
Gottlieb and Bloch who will be showcasing their
talents for one night only at this event.
Turangalila Symphony will be performed as part
of the Northwest Mahler Festival on Sunday,
September 9 at Benaroya Hall. Tickets can be
purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at