The conductor who is announced to lead Gounods „Roméo et Juliette“ at the Salzburg Festival 2008 is not very well known yet at that moment. His name is Yannick Nézet-Séguin, he is French Canadian, and just slightly over thirty.In the beginning the general attentionis not focused on him, the whole production is rather a vehicle for the opera dream couple Netrebko / Villazon. But then Netrebko cancels because she is expecting a baby, and suddenly the nature-boy among the actual conductors is the topic of the day:
A well-toned maestro who conducts with his whole body and even sometimes in a glitter suite, but all modest in the matter itself.
Nobody knows his scores better than him, for he compensates his age-related lack of experience with perfect preparation; and with outsize love for every music he transports at the moment.
Nézet-Séguin doesn´t ever shout at people, but if it occurs to him once, he apologizes immidiately.
He is a communication talent with a presence in social media and a chief conductor of three orchestras simultaneously, and he has a kind of unlimited blank contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
The New York Times put this phenomenon in a nutshell: „He comes, he conducts, he is invited back.“

© Ulla Pilz, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • born 1975 in Montréal, Canada

  • studies: conducting, composition, piano, chamber music, choir leading

  • 2000 chief conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal at the age of 25

  • 2005 additionally chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

  • 2012 third simultaneous music direction with the Philadelphia Orchestra

  • 2008 - 2014 first guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra

  • from 2020 / 21 musical director of the Metropolitan Opera

  • further orchestras: Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

  • festival highlights: Edinburgh, Luzern, Grafenegg, Salzburger, BBC Proms, Mostly Mozart Festival New York

  • opera houses: Scala di Milano, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Netherlands Opera, Covent Garden

  • most significant awards: Musical America´s Artist of the Year (2016), Ordre des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (2015), Royal Philharmonic Society Award

  • honorary doctor of the University of Quebec in Montreal, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University

Did you know?

  • In his early childhood Yannick Nézet-Séguin wants to become pope, but at the age of ten he switches to conductor already1994 he writes an enthusiastic letter to Carlo Maria Giulini, and after that the italian maestro becomes his teacher and mentor

  • When Nézet-Séguin takes over the venerable Philadelphia Orchestra, it is considered bancrupt and has been put under creditor protection. Under his direction the house is full again, the audience gets younger, and the sponsors donate again

  • He is the only world-famous conductor to openly profess to his homosexuality

  • The Georgian world-class violinist Lisa Batiashvili is his „dearest music soulmate“, he takes her on tour with him whenever possible

  • The other members of the permanent tour-staff are Nézet-Séguins partner, the violinist and choir conductor Pierre Trouville, and his parents who are his managers as well; just the three cats stay at home in Montréal

  • Hugh Jackmann who once shared a stage with Nézet-Séguin, announced him with the words “Remember the name, ladies and gentlemen, it’s worth 600 points in Scrabble!”