• Conductor, Pianist, and Wind Surfer

    In preparation for Carnegie Hall's 2013–2014 Opening Night Gala on October 2, we invite you to go Beyond the Baton with The Philadelphia Orchestra's Music Director and Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. We'll continue to share selections from The Philadelphia Orchestra's fun and insightful Q&A series, and we encourage you to explore the rest at philorch.org/blog.


    Five Questions from Beyond the Baton
    a Q&A with Yannick Nézet-Séguin

    What was the first piece of music you conducted, and where?

    The first time I actually stood in front of a group was when I was nine, and I "conducted" the national anthem of Canada in a rehearsal. I was dying to try it, and it worked! So that was when I knew I could have that ambition. The first time I conducted a concert, with choir and organ, was the Fauré Requiem, when I was 18. And the first time with orchestra was Bach's St. John Passion.

    What instrument(s) do you play?

    The piano is my real instrument. I had cello lessons and trumpet lessons, but never consider that I really play these instruments.

    Yannick CD CoverHear Yannick Nézet-Séguin perform select Tchaikovsky romances at the piano, with violinist Lisa Batiashvili, on a new Deutsche Grammophon recording.

    Do you play any sports?

    When I was in school in gym class, the thing I succeeded at the most was gymnastics because I have the build of a gymnast. But now I also consider myself very good at wind surfing. And I've had a few tennis lessons, but I would need to do more to become really good.

    What is your favorite type of food?

    I really like Italian food. I like fish cooked in a little lemon and olive oil, and salad with fresh basil. I prefer food that is fresh.

    What's the one thing you always do before going onstage?

    I don't have a special ritual, however I wear my grandfather's ring on my finger, always. And before going onstage I have a moment where I touch the ring and think of him. He passed away before seeing me conduct, so this is a small way of sharing.


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    Photo: Deutsche Grammophon.