Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Music Director

Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair

Yannick Nézet-Séguin triumphantly opened his inaugural season as the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the fall of 2012. From the Orchestra’s home in Verizon Hall to the Carnegie Hall stage, Nézet-Séguin’s highly collaborative style, deeply-rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called Yannick “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”

In his first official season in Philadelphia, Yannick has taken the Orchestra to new musical heights in concerts at home, and has further distinguished himself in the community, with a powerful performance at the Orchestra’s annual Martin Luther King Tribute Concert, working with young musicians from the School District of Philadelphia’s All City Orchestra, establishing a relationship with the Curtis Institute, and ringing in 2013 with his Philadelphia audience with a festive New Year’s Eve concert. Following on the heels of a February 2013 announcement of a recording project with Deutsche Grammophon, Yannick and the Orchestra will record Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring together.

Over the past decade, Nézet-Séguin has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Since 2008 he has been music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, and since 2000 artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles—the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and all the major Canadian orchestras, among many others. Throughout Europe and North America, Yannick’s appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene, making him one of the most sought-after conductors in the world. 

Since his first appearance in Philadelphia in 2008, Yannick has made a deep connection with the musicians of the Orchestra as well as with audiences. His concerts of diverse repertoire offerings attract sold-out houses, and he has established a regular forum for connecting with concert-goers through Post-Concert Conversations following each of his subscription concerts.

Yannick has led The Philadelphia Orchestra in a breadth of repertoire ranging from the intimate—Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (which he led from the keyboard)—to the monumental—Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, and launched a multi-year exploration of the world’s great requiems with performances of the Mozart Requiem in January 2011 and Brahms’s A German Requiem in November 2011. He opened the 2012-13 season and his tenure as music director with the Verdi Requiem in October 2012, which he also led in his Carnegie Hall debut. Yannick leads two additional performances at that historic concert hall during the 2012-13 season. Other highlights of his inaugural season include an Opening Night Concert featuring soprano Renée Fleming, a world premiere by Gabriela Lena Frank, and performances of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in collaboration with New York-based Ridge Theater, complete with dancers, video projection, and theatrical lighting.

Widely recognized for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s talents extend beyond symphonic music into the world of opera and choral music. His critically acclaimed performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (where he appears annually), Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.

In July 2012 Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon announced a major long-term collaboration, following highly successful DVD releases of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet from the Salzburg Festival and Bizet’s Carmen from the Metropolitan Opera. Among his projects will be live recordings of Mozart’s seven mature operas from the Baden-Baden Summer Festival. The first, Don Giovanni, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, was released last year to outstanding reviews and will be followed in 2013 by the release of Così fan tutte, recorded last summer with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Yannick’s discography with the Rotterdam Philharmonic includes recordings of Strauss and Berlioz for BIS Records, and three EMI/Virgin releases, including an Edison Award-winning album of Ravel’s orchestral works. He has also recorded several award-winning albums with the Orchestre Métropolitain for the Canadian label ATMA Classique.

Yannick’s appearances with other ensembles in the 2012-13 season include two separate tours to Japan and the Far East with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, a tour of Germany with the London Philharmonic, and a cycle of the complete Schumann symphonies and concertos with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Paris. He also returns to the Bavarian Radio Symphony and to the Metropolitan Opera for Verdi’s La traviata. 

A native of Montreal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College.

In 2012 Yannick was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors. His other honors include a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; an Echo Award; the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts in Quebec, awarded by the Quebec government; and an honorary doctorate by the University of Quebec in Montreal.