June 20, 2010 |
Though Yannick Nézet-Séguin's recording career coincides closely with the death and partial resurrection of the classical recording industry, his discography sprawls over an impressive 17 discs with repertoire from Bruckner symphonies to Kurt Weill songs. Because the results are unusually site-specific, his recordings are best classified not by composer or label, but by the cities where they were made. Montreal. The last three symphonies of Anton Bruckner dominate Nézet-Séguin's recordings with Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain - a repertoire choice that may seem a little foolhardy with so much Bruckner available elsewhere, often by grand-old-man conductors.
June 18, 2010 |
OTTAWA - Since he's neither tall nor old, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin jokes that he sometimes feels like a kid trying to tame 100 lions onstage. On Wednesday at the National Arts Centre here, the Philadelphia Orchestra's new music director-designate had nearly 500 such musical beasts for Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") positioned in balconies, in boxes, and onstage, with an adoring audience that included Canada's governor-general (the surrogate for the queen of England)
June 14, 2010 |
Some conductors believe, above all, in the Rehearsal. They balance and tune chords, bring out some voices and subdue others. They charm and educate players with spoken poetry and imagery to achieve various effects. They even make adjustments in response to the acoustics of a particular hall. Others do plenty of preparation in rehearsal, but the main thing they bring to the party is a performance pumped with energy. Conductors on the highest level are a substantive amalgamation of the two: They did their homework before curtain time, and they have the skillful gestures to write new ideas in performance and the sensitivity to react spontaneously to events (good and bad)
February 20, 2010 |
Age-appropriate repertoire is a nagging question for young conductors: Should they conduct nothing deeper than Carmina Burana until age 40? Yannick N?zet-S?guin, 34, shows no caution in this regard: He's a "ninth symphony" kind of guy, embracing late-period Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler with unexpected success. What of the flashier, youthful stuff that figures into everyday concerts? At his Lincoln Center tour stop with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on Wednesday, he faced a program of potboiler Liszt and Richard Strauss as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra search committee in the audience, eager to hear what he's like in calling-card repertoire and with the near-world-class orchestra he has headed for almost two years.
December 5, 2009 |
Of all the paradoxes: Conductor Yannick N?zet-S?guin became the hero of his own concert by ceding the spotlight to all around him, making them look terrific - or better than they normally might. In this 34-year-old French Canadian conductor's reengagement Thursday with the Philadelphia Orchestra (as the music-director search goes into high gear), nothing was safe or certain, from his slightly strange concert attire (a long dark tie) to the ultra-slow tempos he allowed pianist Nicholas Angelich to take in Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1. In a way, N?zet-S?guin showed what life would be like in a typical week with the conductor serving multiple agendas: the soloist's repertoire and established interpretation, plus the cause of modern music, in this case the 1980 Orion by the late Claude Vivier.
November 29, 2009 |
Conductor Yannick N?zet-S?guin seems too amiable to be an original. And yet originality is exactly what seems to have emerged from the up-and-coming 34-year-old Quebecois in the year between his last Philadelphia Orchestra engagement and the one coming this week. Music that's normally considered second-rate suddenly sounds substantial under his direction. His programs are full of important, provocative new music. And among established masterworks, normally urbane Maurice Ravel works lose their cool in his soon-to-be-released EMI recording debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, where he is music director, leaving you wondering why that doesn't always happen.
September 24, 2009 |
From here to Hong Kong and myriad ports in between, millions will pause today at 17:59 on the 24-hour clock and raise a glass to the 18th-century Irish brewer who made the day worth celebrating. The man: Arthur Guinness. While today is his 284th birthday, it was 250 years ago, on Dec. 31, 1759, that the 34-year-old from County Kildare signed a lease on a four-acre dilapidated ale brewery near St. James's Gate on the edge of Dublin and began producing the dry stout that bears his name.
August 6, 2009 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's search for its eighth music director has entered a particularly treacherous stretch. Conductors' datebooks being what they are, filled three or four years in advance, the orchestra will have to act soon. But it doesn't have quite enough information on several of the candidates. Rock, hard place. The search committees have vowed that no one will be hired before making more than one visit to the podium - an unimpressive act of restraint when you consider how critical a decision this is. And yet here at the Mostly Mozart Festival Tuesday night was the young Montrealer who is the current front-runner: Yannick N?zet-S?guin.
January 25, 2006 |
Utterly Monkey Nick Laird Harper Perennial. 344 pp. $13.95 Reviewed by David Hiltbrand Inquirer Staff Writer As the spouse of It novelist Zadie Smith, Nick Laird is famous by association - which means his first novel, the slender but diverting Utterly Monkey, is getting reviewed far more extensively than it normally would. Take that to heart, aspiring writers, and marry up. This is the tale of Danny Williams, who grew up hardscrabble in Northern Ireland and is now working, with some qualms, as a lawyer in London.
February 3, 2005 |
Getting to the beach is a breeze. Parking at the beach is a breeze. Everything about Jacksonville Beach is a breeze except the breeze. It's more of a gale. The rain is coming in sideways. It's like being on the set of The Perfect Storm, and you're George Clooney. It is 47 degrees, and the wind makes it feel closer to 30. The rain doesn't help. There isn't another living soul on this stretch of beach except for a bird. It is walking against the wind and appears to be muttering to itself.