In case you don’t know – and if you don’t, I must wonder what planet you’ve been living on for the last few years – Nézet-Séguin is the fast-tracking Canadian maestro who currently leads the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and is also principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic. Just in case all of that is not enough, in September he’ll be taking up the position of music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And he’s only 37.
These are complex, intertwined topics, and you’ll have to wait until July to read the whole story. But here’s a sneak preview. My final question to Nézet-Séguin was, “Do you find that being Canadian helps you, or hinders you, or has any effect at all on your international career as a conductor?” Here’s what he said:
“Basically, being Canadian doesn’t hurt – but I’m not sure how much it helps in terms of being considered. But what helps is our spirit. In Canada the social hierarchy is not so present: people are very respectful of one another, but we do not care so much about hierarchy. My way of approaching an orchestra is to take a lot of care, whether it’s the third trumpet or the last stand of the second violins. They’re all part of the orchestra.
“In some cultures, especially in Europe, this is very unusual. Normally, the conductor will only address the leaders of the sections. I think this effecting the reaction to my music making, in a positive way. And I like to think this is Canadian.”
© Colin Eatock 2012