Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through at least the 2025-26 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he became the third music director in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, beginning with the 2018-19 season. This consolidates his 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, he 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. 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, and 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 seventh season as music director, he launches exciting artistic initiatives, including the culmination of a multi-year celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a symphonically staged production of Candide; Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, featuring the athletic and inventive choreography of Philadelphia-based Brian Sanders; and the world premiere of Hannibal’s community commission Healing Tones.
Nézet-Séguin is embraced by the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and by audiences wherever they perform. He made his inaugural tour with the Orchestra during the 2014 Tour of Asia and the following year led the ensemble on their first European tour together. In September 2015, he conducted 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. In 2016 and 2017, Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra returned to Asia. In 2018, they toured Europe and Israel to much critical acclaim. “Music director and orchestra were once again able to display their astonishing symbiosis,” said Der Standard. And Ynet commented, “The connection between The Philadelphia Orchestra and its conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is truly incredible in its unmediated closeness.”
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, and their third disc, Bernstein’s MASS, was released in March 2018. 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.
Nézet-Séguin has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in summer 2017 he became an 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, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. 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, 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.
Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) embarked on a major long-term collaboration in July 2012; he signed an exclusive contract with the label in May 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; and an Officer of the Order of Montreal in 2017. His other honors include Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, and the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts awarded by the Quebec government. 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, NJ; McGill University; the University of Montreal; and the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo: Chris Lee