Yannick Nézet-Séguin is currently in his 12th season with The Philadelphia Orchestra, serving as music and artistic director. An inspired leader, Yannick is both an evolutionary and a revolutionary, developing the mighty “Philadelphia Sound” in new ways. Widely recognized for his artistry and commitment, he has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling and sought-after talents of his generation. His 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 him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”
Nézet-Séguin has taken The Philadelphia Orchestra to new musical heights in performances at home in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts; at the Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and the Kennedy Center; in Philadelphia neighborhoods; and around the world, beginning with his inaugural tour with the Orchestra to Asia in 2014.
In addition to expanding the repertoire by embracing an ever-growing and diverse group of today’s composers, Nézet-Séguin is passionately committed to performing the music of under-appreciated composers of the past, such as Florence Price, the first Black woman to have her work performed by a major American symphony orchestra; Clara Schumann; William Dawson; Lili Boulanger; Louise Farrenc; and William Grant Still. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he continues to make connections within the diverse communities of Philadelphia, showing his commitment to engaging music lovers of all ages across the region.
Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership, the Orchestra returned to recording in 2013 with a release on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions of works by Bach. Other releases for the label include Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and all four piano concertos with pianist Daniil Trifonov, Bernstein’s MASS, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, and Florence Price’s First and Third symphonies, which won the 2021 GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance. In Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season, the Orchestra returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM. In 2017, they also began a national series on SiriusXM.
In addition to his role with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin became the third music director in the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera in August 2018. He has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in summer 2017 he became the third-ever honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic from 2008 to 2018 (he is now the ensemble’s honorary conductor) and was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic from 2008 to 2014. He enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has also made wildly successful appearances with many of the world’s other most revered ensembles, including the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and all the major Canadian orchestras. Throughout Europe and North America, his appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene.
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 made his debut in 2009, returning each season), the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, Netherlands Opera, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.
Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) embarked on a major long-term collaboration in 2012; he signed an exclusive contract with the label in 2018. His upcoming recordings will include projects with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the Orchestre Métropolitain, with which he will also continue to record for ATMA Classique. Additionally, he has recorded with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records, and the London Philharmonic for the LPO label.
A native of Montreal, 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.
Nézet-Séguin was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2012, one of the country’s highest civilian honors; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec in 2015; an Officer of the Order of Quebec in 2015; an Officer of the Order of Montreal in 2017; Orchestras Canada’s Betty Webster Award in 2020; and the French government’s Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2022. His other honors include Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; ECHO KLASSIK’s 2014 Conductor of the Year; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Virginia Parker Prize; the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts awarded by the Quebec government; and the Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal; the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey; McGill University in Montreal; the University of Montreal; the University of Pennsylvania; Laval University in Quebec; and Drexel University.
Photo by Landon Nordeman