The Metropolitan Opera announced today that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be the company’s new Music Director from the 2020/21 season, becoming only the third conductor to hold this title in the house’s 133-year history.
He will assume the title of Music Director Designate from the 2017/18 season, conducting two operas a season, then five a season once he becomes Music Director in September 2020. His artistic involvement will begin immediately, and as Music Director he will have artistic authority over the orchestra, chorus and music staff, and will work together with Met General Manager Peter Gelb to oversee the planning and casting of each Met season. Next season, he will conduct his first Wagner opera with the company, a revival of ‘Der Fliegende Holländer’.
Concurrently, it has been announced that Yannick will extend his tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra – of which he has been Music Director since 2012 – until the 2025/26 season.
He will remain Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic until the end of the 2017/18 season, also retaining his Music Directorship of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain and continuing his regular guest conducting appearances in Europe.
Of the announcements, Yannick says: “I never imagined that I could live the dream of leading the legendary and magnificent Philadelphia Orchestra and I now embrace with great joy and eagerness the chance to deepen my connection with this sensationally musical city and to share the music-making, both in the concert hall and the wider community, for at least a further decade – I have so many ideas! To be able to do this, while simultaneously fulfilling my lifelong dream to become Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera and its extraordinary orchestra, chorus and staff was irresistible to me; I am truly honoured and humbled to succeed the legendary James Levine as leader of what I believe is the greatest opera company in the world. I will make it my mission to preserve the highest artistic standards for both institutions, while imagining a new, bright future for our art form. I am the luckiest MD on earth today.”
Donagh Collins, Chief Executive of Askonas Holt says, “What a pleasure for Askonas Holt to partner with Yannick on these exciting announcements for the future. Alongside my colleagues Rona Eastwood and Rupert Chandler, I have enjoyed partnering with Peter Gelb and Allison Vulgamore to make Yannick’s dream a reality, ensuring that he can be a successful Music Director at both The Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra into the long-term – two amazing institutions which are located relatively close to one another … thankfully!”
What a difference a decade makes!
Less than 12 years ago, he was making his European conducting debut as a young conductor, virtually unknown beyond his native Canada. Within his first few seasons, he had established an enviable European profile and regular appearances in major cultural capitals and series, and built close relationships with a number of ensembles. This development was mirrored in North America, where he became a welcome guest of major orchestras. Exactly three years after his European debut, he was invited to succeed Valery Gergiev as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and soon afterwards, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic. His first conducting decade, devoted to learning his craft and building enduring musical relationships in and around Montreal proved a wise decision, allowing him to work on a remarkably broad range of concert repertoire and dig deep into the world of opera. Appointed Music Director of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain in 2000, the relationship continues to this day and bears eloquent testimony to the remarkable musical achievements that such stable and loyal partnerships can offer at a crucial stage.
No whirlwind tour of Yannick’s recent career would be complete without mentioning extensive touring with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Europe, North America, Far East); his regular Paris presence, first with Orchestre National de France, more recently with Rotterdam and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; appearances at festivals such as the BBC Proms, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Lucerne, Salzburg, Edinburgh; his three-year residency at Konzerthaus Dortmund, just drawing to a close, which will have hosted appearances with Rotterdam, COE, LPO, Philadelphia, Berliner Philharmoniker,Wiener Philharmoniker and Bayerischer Rundfunk; his ongoing cycle of Mozart operas (captured live for release on Deutsche Grammophon) over nearly a decade at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; his cycles of Schumann and Mendelssohn symphonies (also recorded) with COE; his relationship with Berliner Philharmoniker (he returns this month for subscription concerts,Waldbühne and touring); and with Wiener Philharmoniker, (concerts and staged opera in Salzburg, and forthcoming concerts on tour and in Vienna); and to round 2015/16 off, appearances with Philadelphia and Orchestre Métropolitain in their regular summer homes and returns to the Edinburgh and Lucerne Festivals with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Happily, the structure of the Philadelphia and Met seasons will allow for a continuing European presence.