The Bernstein Centenary Celebration continues with his Second Symphony, The Age of Anxiety¸ with Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the piano.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now confirmed to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through the 2025-26 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he becomes the third music director in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, beginning with the 2021-22 season, and from 2017-18 is music director designate. This consolidates Nézet-Séguin’s professional activity around two of the world’s pre-eminent artistic organizations, concentrating and honing his musical future.
Nézet-Séguin, who holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair, is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Widely recognized for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, Nézet-Séguin has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling talents of his generation. His intensely 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, from the Orchestra’s home in Verizon Hall to the Carnegie Hall stage. The New York Times has called Nézet-Séguin “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 Kennedy Center, in Philadelphia neighborhoods, and around the world. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he continues to make connections within Philadelphia’s rich arts community, showing his commitment to engaging music lovers of all ages across the region. In his sixth season as music director, he launches exciting artistic initiatives, including a year-long celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth; music from and inspired by the British Isles in a three-week festival; and the continuation of a focus on opera and sacred vocal works, including Puccini’s Tosca and Haydn’s The Seasons. Yannick is embraced by the musicians of the Orchestra and by audiences wherever they perform. He made his inaugural tour with The Philadelphia Orchestra with the 2014 Tour of Asia, and the following year he took the Orchestra on their first European tour together, during which the Guardian of London exclaimed, “… it’s proving a remarkable partnership.” In September 2015 Yannick led the Orchestra in two performances for Pope Francis as part of the World Meeting of Families, at the Festival of Families and the Papal Mass. And in 2016 and 2017 Yannick and the Orchestra returned to Asia.
Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership the Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions of works by Bach. Their second disc for the label, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Daniil Trifonov, was released in August 2015. This season, Nézet-Séguin and Trifonov reunite to record Rachmaninoff’s Third and Fourth concertos. In Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season the Orchestra returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is in his 10th and final season as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and he has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. In summer 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic from 2008 to 2014. Nézet-Séguin has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles—the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and all the major Canadian orchestras, among many others. Throughout Europe and North America, his appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene, making him one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.
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 has appeared annually since his debut in 2009, including the opening of the 2015 season), Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) embarked on a major long-term collaboration in July 2012. He continues fruitful recording relationships with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records; the London Philharmonic for the LPO label; and the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique.
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. Yannick Nézet-Séguin was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2012, one of the country’s highest civilian honors, and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2015. His other honors include Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts awarded by the Quebec government; and honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ.
Photo: Chris Lee