MUSIC: Nézet-Séguin. It rhymes with "busy"

We here offer one of our periodic updates on the peripatetic Montreal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who’s doing a residence in Scotland. The guy at The Herald is smitten — “utterly charming… a giant… phenomenal… a natural” — and he updates us on YNS’s schedule: Rotterdam, London, Salzburg, Philadelphia, Boston, LA (an orchestra that favours young hotshots), Vienna — a mighty orchestra whose musicians decide which conductors to invite, and which will follow YNS through Mozart’s Requiem — Berlin, Chicago, Cleveland, Zurich…

There aren’t a lot of Canadians who’ve reached this level of international prominence at this age (he’s 33) in any field. (Here‘s his website.) I’ve seen him conduct only once so far, with the National Arts Centre Orchestra last spring. He conducted Brahms, Linda Bouchard and Gershwin — the Concerto in F with Marc-André Hamelin, surprisingly the first time the two had shared a stage. It was the Brahms Fourth Symphony that was most surprising and impressive to my ears, because he took the opening at a slower tempo than I’m used to hearing it — revelling in melody and texture instead of fireworks. A most un-showoff-y stance for a guy with a wunderkind reputation. In this piece for La Presse (warning: it is written in a language other than English), the Rotterdam musicians say they’re looking forward to his discipline and attention to detail after several years under the baton of Valery Gergiev, whose many virtues do not include a fondness for rehearsing.

He still gets back to Montreal to direct the Orchestre Métropolitain, which started as a community orchestra and which he has pushed further than anyone could have expected.