Montreal, September 16, 2019 – The Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal is pleased to announce the renewal for life of the contract of its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This open-ended commitment is based on mutual trust. The new contract grew out of a desire expressed by the Orchestre’s management and musicians and by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who begins his 20th season with the OM this September. Such contracts between a young conductor and an orchestra he or she didn’t found are extremely rare.
“This is a special day for the musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain and myself, the beginning of a new chapter,” says Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will conduct his 600th concert from the OM’s podium at the end of its 2019-2020 season. “Montreal is my hometown, my home port. It’s where I was born, where I grew up and where I received my musical training. It’s where my family lives. And the Orchestre Métropolitain is the first of my musical families. I get a little emotional when I recall all the wonderful moments shared with Montreal audiences and how far my musicians and I have come. They have trusted me from the start, when I was just 25 years old. The trust was mutual and our relationship has only grown over the last 20 years. We are now inseparable. Together, we have learned the value of work and of patience. We have followed our dream of surpassing ourselves in pursuit of a common goal: to share our love for music. I look forward to the coming years at the Orchestre Métropolitain with great enthusiasm for the many projects in store and with great pride for all that has been accomplished to date.” Orchestre Métropolitain management is positive that the organization’s growth over the last 20 years is largely attributable to the exceptional artistic vision and positive, rallying approach of Yannick Nézet- Séguin. “We want to give concrete expression to an agreement whose terms reflect the special relationship between Yannick and his Montreal orchestra,” explains Jean R. Dupré, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Orchestre Métropolitain. “This is an open-ended contract with the conductor everyone dreams of having on their podium, who also happens to be a Montrealer in love with his city and a person with whom our musicians have developed a sound, musically rewarding and extraordinarily human relationship and it is beyond value. We are honoured that Yannick has agreed to continue his musical mission here in communion with the musicians and audiences and without anyone wondering how long he’ll be around. He is here to stay.”
Announced on September 16, 2015, the preceding contract bound the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin through the end of the 2020-2021 season, which is also the organization’s 40th anniversary. In addition to his lifetime commitment with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will continue his duties as Musical Director of the Metropolitan Opera of New York (the MET) and Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, positions he has held since 2018 and 2012 respectively. “We can be proud this great page in history is being written before our very eyes,” says Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez. “Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s lifetime commitment not only to the Orchestre Métropolitain but also to the many people who have followed his career from the start shows us once again why we need to support local artists: they are the reflection of who we are. I am delighted that this great ambassador of Quebec culture has decided to continue enriching our lives here for a long time to come with all the boundless energy we associate with him. This is a great day for the general public as well as myself!”.1
“Music lovers and the many loyal fans of the Orchestre Métropolitain will be able to fully appreciate the overflowing talent of the artistic genius that is Yannick Nézet-Séguin,” notes Nathalie Roy, Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications. “While there is no longer any need to tout the richness of Quebec’s musical culture, we can now boast of the allegiance of one of our top cultural ambassadors, our Yannick, who, through this commitment that makes us very proud, has once again made clear his feelings and his attachment to Quebec.”2
“Montrealers will be delighted that Yannick Nézet-Séguin has reaffirmed his commitment to his hometown,” notes Montreal mayor Valérie Plante, who had the pleasure of welcoming Yannick Nézet-Séguin to city hall in February 2019 to sign the municipality’s golden book. “This proof of love is good news not only for the musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain but also for the entire Montreal cultural scene. And it once again shows that Montreal is both a city of extraordinary talents and a place where artists feel like they belong, where they want to leave their mark. I greet this new development with great joy.”3
‘‘Yannick Nézet-Séguin has made an outstanding contribution to the rise of the Orchestre Métropolitain. His passion and dedication have made symphony music more accessible to a wider audience. This lifelong contract eloquently recognizes the magical connection between conductor and orchestra. A long-term commitment lays the foundations for great accomplishments, as shown by Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s tenure at the orchestra’s helm. This is one of the reasons Hydro- Québec has been a proud supporter of the Orchestre Métropolitain for over 20 years”, explains Élise Proulx, Vice President – Communications, Government Affairs and Indigenous Relations for Hydro-Québec. Impressive accomplishments, exciting projects.
For two decades now, the Orchestre Métropolitain has grown under the leadership of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Over the years, many major goals, some of them quite daring, have been achieved. A door to the international scene opened gradually with the recording of the complete Bruckner symphonies, at the rate of one a year, on the ATMA Classique label. Two discs with singers Rolando Villazón and Ildar Abdrazakov were also recorded for the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label. The fall of 2017 saw the OM’s dazzling debut on the international stage during its first European tour, the behind-the-scenes preparations for which are partially revealed in the feature film Ensemble (Jean-Nicolas Orhon, 2018); the tour was crowned with the Best International Tour award from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, 33rd grand prize from the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the OPUS award in the international outreach category from the Conseil québécois de la musique. More recently, during the OM’s Summer 2019 season, more than 35,000 persons attended its outdoor concert at the foot of Mount Royal, a free event that met with great success. In November 2019, the OM will embark on a tour of the United States. For the first time, Yannick will present his Montreal orchestra, accompanied by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, to audiences in New York and Philadelphia, where he is already well known and much appreciated as the head of two of the country’s most famous ensembles, as well as in Chicago and Ann Arbor. One of the venues to be performed in, Carnegie Hall, has named Yannick as one of its 2019-2020 Perspectives Artists.
1 Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Companion of the Order of Canada (2012).
2 Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Denise Pelletier Award (2011); Medal of Honour of the Quebec National Assembly (2015); Companion of the Quebec Order of Arts and Letters (2015); Officer of the National Order of Quebec (2015).
3 Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Officer of the Ordre de Montréal (2017).