Yannick Nézet-Séguin

I was pleased to see Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s picture on the cover of the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning, not just because of the news that he is becoming the Philadelphia orchestra’s new music director, but because of the prominent and extensive coverage the news received. In addition to his picture on the front page above the fold, there is more than a full page inside the first section. You can read Inquirer coverage here, with comment by Inquirer critics Peter Dobrin and David Patrick Stearns.

I haven’t heard Maestro Nézet-Séguin conduct, but the buzz seems mostly positive, and I am just relieved to know that there will be a new director in place.

I haven’t had a chance to research this, but on the basis of past performances, how much new music can we expect the new director to program? has he ever conducted a piece by a living American? He did a Vivier piece in Philly not so long ago, which is a good sign, but does his repertoire – described as wide-ranging in the Inquirer – include music by living composers? More on this later.

Update: view the Nézet-Séguin discography here. While the repertoire there is not so interesting (two Nino Rota recordings?), his concert repertoire is, of course, more broad, with a wide range of standard repertoire and a bit of new music: pieces by Kurtag, Gubaidulina, Messiaen, Theo Verbey, as well as some other composers whose names I did not recognize. It is worth remembering that Riccardo Muti came to Philadelphia without much experience of doing new music, or new American music – but that changed when he got here.

Update #2: more from David Patrick Stearns, and from Tim Smith (includes video), and Anne Midgette.

Update #3 – a discussion of the appointment on WHYY’s Radio Times, with critics from Philadelphia and Montreal as well as the chair of the Orchestra’s board of directors.

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