Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick (Nicholas) Nézet-Séguin. Conductor, pianist, b Montréal 6 Mar 1975; premier prix avec grande distinction - piano (CMM), premier prix - dictation (CMM), premier prix - solfège (CMM), premier prix - harmony (CMM), premier prix - counterpoint (CMM), graduate diploma (CMM) 1996. Yannick Nézet-Séguin began piano lessons at age five and by nine, after seeing Charles Dutoit conduct the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, expressed interest in conducting. At age 13 he became the youngest student to enter the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (CMM), studying piano with Anisia Campos, as well as chamber music, composition, and conducting. Summer studies included choral directing sessions at Westminster Choir College, NY, with Joseph Flummerfelt and orchestral sessions at the Verbier Festival, Switzerland (1997), with the Orchestre mondial des jeunesses musicales. He was also mentored by Carlo Maria Giulini 1997-9. While still a student, Nézet-Séguin founded La Chapelle de Montréal, a period choral and instrumental ensemble.

Conducting Career

Nézet-Séguin's first professional position came in June 1998, when he became chorusmaster and assistant conductor of the Opéra de Montréal. In 2000, he was appointed artistic director of the Orchestre Métropolitain. Within three years he led the group in an acclaimed recording of Nino Rota's music, featuring Alain Trudel and Jennifer Swartz, for the ATMA label. The partnership with ATMA proved a fruitful one; Nézet-Séguin has gone on to make over 10 recordings with ATMA as both conductor and pianist. In 2003 not only did Nézet-Séguin give a widely praised interpretation of Lakmé for Opera Ontario, but this success in part resulted in an appointment as principal guest conductor for the Victoria Symphony 2003-06, and he was taken on by the Askonas-Holt arts management agency, known for promoting prominent conductors.

Under the aegis of Askonas-Holt, Nézet-Séguin's orchestral career began to grow in Canada, where he has since conducted every major orchestra; in Europe, where he made his debut with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (2004) and has since conducted in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and Switzerland; in Australia; and in the US. In 2007, the musicians of the Rotterdam Philharmonic voted unanimously to hire Nézet-Séguin to replace outgoing principal conductor Valery Gergiev. He began in this position in September 2008. Earlier the same year, he was appointed principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic. In 2010, Nézet-Séguin was named director-designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra; he will replace Charles Dutoit as principal conductor in 2012.

His reputation as an opera conductor has also grown rapidly, with engagements at the Opéra de Montréal, the Vancouver Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company, as well as venues in Europe, including the Liceu in Barcelona, working with such performers as Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, and Ewa Podleś. Nézet-Séguin's first appearance at the Salzburg Festival (2008), where he conducted Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, resulted in a Deutsche Grammophon video release in 2009. In 2010 he made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera, conducting Bizet's Carmen to widespread critical acclaim.

Awards; Recognition

Known for his energy, charismatic presence and co-operative demeanour, Nézet-Séguin is popular with the orchestras he has conducted and has been invited back repeatedly. Though certain critics have tried to classify his style, he has remained defiantly eclectic, preferring not to specialize in any given repertoire. Arthur Kaptainis observed that "whatever orchestra he conducts, he has an artistic calling. It is remarkably protean and free" (Montreal Gazette, 10 Nov 2007).

Nézet-Séguin was awarded the 2000 Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, in addition to capturing several Prix Opus and a prize from the Conseil Québécois de la Musique for album of the year. In 2010 Nézet-Séguin received the National Arts Centre Award (under the aegis of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards), and along with the Orchestre Métropolitain, received a Juno nomination for his recording of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8. In April 2011, the University of Quebec awarded him an honorary doctorate. On October 30, 2011 he was awarded the Prix Denise-Pelletier for the performing arts.

Discography

Nino Rota. Jennifer Swartz harp, Alain Trudel trombone, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2003. ATMA Classique ACD2 2294

Conversations. Alain Trudel trombone, Yannick Nézet-Séguin piano. ATMA Classique ACD2 2289

Mahler 4. Karina Gauvin soprano, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2004. ATMA Classique ACD2 2306

Arianna a Naxos. David DQ Lee countertenor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin piano. 2004. ATMA Classique ACD2 2326

Flemish Connection Volume 5: Arthur de Greef - Orchestral Works. Charlotte Riedijk soprano, Artur Pizarro piano, Flemish Radio Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2004. Etcetera KTC 4013

Kurt Weill. Diane Dufresne soprano, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor and piano. 2005. ATMA Classique ACD2 2324

Mozart - Lieder. Suzie LeBlanc soprano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin fortepiano. 2006. ATMA Classique ACD2 2327

Camille Saint-Saëns - Symphony no. 3. Philippe Bélanger organ, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2006. ATMA Classique SACD2 2331

Weill - Rota. Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2006. ATMA Classique ALCD21036

Bruckner 7. Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2007. ATMA Classique SACD22512

La Mer - Debussy, Britten, Mercure. Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2007. ATMA Classique SACD22549

Pierre Lapointe en concert dans la forêt des mal-aimés. Pierre Lapointe, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2007. Audiogram ADCD10219

Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 "Eroica," Strauss - Death and Transfiguration. Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Live, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2007. RPhO 2008-3

Bruckner 9. Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2008. ATMA Classique SACD22514

Bruckner 8. Orchestre Métropolitain, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2009. ATMA Classique ACD2 2513

Tenor Arias. Marc Hervieux tenor, Orchestre Métropolitain, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2010. ATMA Classique ACD2 2618

Brahms - A German Requiem. London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2010. LPO - 0045

Filmography

Charles Gounod - Roméo et Juliette. Nino Machaidze soprano, Rolando Villazón tenor, Mikhail Petrenko bass, Russell Braun baritone, Falk Struckmann bass-baritone, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor. 2009. Deutsche Grammophon NTSC 073 4518