Yannick Nézet-Séguin (born Yannick Séguin; 6 March 1975) is a French Canadian conductor and pianist. He currently holds leadership posts with the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montréal), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is widely recorded on major classical music labels conducting performances of symphonies, recitals, and opera.
Born in Montreal, Nézet-Séguin is the son of two specialists in education, Serge P. Séguin, Ph.D., a university professor, and Claudine Nézet, M.A., a university lecturer and coordinator. He began to study piano at age five, with Jeanne-d'Arc Lebrun-Lussier and decided to become an orchestra conductor at age ten.
Nézet-Séguin studied successively at St-Isaac-Jogues Primary School, at Mont-St-Louis Secondary School and at Bois-de-Boulogne College. In the meantime, he was admitted to Anisia Campos' piano class, at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec where he earned five first prizes in piano and in four related musical subjects. He also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and did many master classes with renowned conductors. At nineteen, he met and was invited to follow Carlo Maria Giulini in rehearsals and concerts for more than a year. He became the musical director of the Chœur polyphonique de Montréal in 1994 and obtained the same post at Choeur de Laval in 1995. In 1995, he founded his own professional orchestral and vocal ensemble, La Chapelle de Montréal, with whom he performed 2 to 4 concerts a year until 2002. He considers Charles Dutoit as his first inspiration as a child and Carlo Maria Giulini as his master. From 1998 to 2002, Nézet-Séguin was chorus master, assistant conductor and music adviser of the Opéra de Montréal.
Nézet-Séguin became music director of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montréal) in 2000, and principal guest conductor of the Victoria Symphony (British Columbia, Canada) in 2003. His most recent contract with the Orchestre Métropolitain, through 2010, has since been extended through 2015. He has conducted commercial recordings of symphonies of Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler with the Orchestre Métropolitain.
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra:
In 2005, Nézet-Séguin guest-conducted the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (RPhO) for the first time, and returned in 2006. In December 2006, the RPhO announced the appointment of Nézet-Séguin as their 11th Principal Conductor, by a unanimous vote, starting with the 2008-09 concert season, with an initial contract of 4 years. In April 2010, the RPhO announced the extension of his contract through 2015. With the RPhO, Nézet-Séguin has recorded commercially for Virgin Classics and for EMI.
In December 2008, Nézet-Séguin made his first appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the invitation of Charles Dutoit. He returned for a second guest-conducting engagement in December 2009. In June 2010, he was named the eighth Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, starting with the 2012-13 season. He served as Music Director Designate from 2010 to 2012. His initial contract as music director is for 5 seasons, with 7 weeks of scheduled concerts in the 2012-13 season, 15 weeks in the next 2 seasons, and 16 weeks in the subsequent 2 seasons of his Philadelphia contract.
Other major engagements:
Since 2009, Nézet-Séguin has made annual appearances with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He made his début on 31 December 2009, conducting a new production of Carmen, followed by Don Carlo in 2010, Faust in 2011,La traviata in 2013, and Rusalka in 2014.
Nézet-Séguin made his UK conducting debut with the Northern Sinfonia in the 2005-06 season. He debuted with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) in March 2007, and with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in April 2007. In November 2007, the LPO appointed Nézet-Séguin as their principal guest conductor, starting with the 2008-09 season. In May 2010, the LPO announced the extension of his contract as principal guest conductor through the 2013-14 season, at which time he is scheduled to relinquish the post. He made his Royal Opera House debut with Rusalka, the first stagings of the opera at Covent Garden, in 2012. His engagements in the 2013-2014 season include appearances with the Berliner Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Orchestra.
Virginia Parker Prize (2000),
Prix Opus (2005),
Royal Philharmonic Society Young artists (2009),
National Arts Centre Performing Arts Award (2010),
Doctorate honoris causa, UQAM (2011),
Prix Denise-Pelletier, Government of the Province of Quebec (2011),
Companion of the Order of Canada (2012)