The passions of Monsieur Nezet-Seguin


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Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was named the new music director designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra in June. For most Americans, especially those on the Left Coast, he is a bit of a dark horse.

The first hurdle on the way to YNS enlightenment is his name. French accents don’t indicate syllabic emphasis like they do in Spanish but rather change the sound of the vowel. Think of the difference between découpage and delineate.



If it’s still giving you anxiety, you can go with YNS or simply Yannick.

I met up with Yannick in Montreal just after the announcement to chat about his new appointment and he agreed to do a short Proust questionnaire to help America get to know him a little better.

Your best characteristic

Your main fault

What is your idea of perfect misery?
Not wanting to live anymore

What living person do you most admire?
I would say my parents

What dead person do you most admire?
[Conductor Carlo Maria] Giulini

What talent would you like to have?
I would be a tennis player

Your favourite qualities in a man?

In a woman?

What fault do you find easiest to tolerate in other people
Faults that have to do with wanting too much or being overly something. What I don’t like is the opposite, when people lack generosity or passion.

What do you most despise?

What is your greatest extravagance?
I have many but they all have to do with somehow my feet in the sand and some champagne and some turquoise water

How do you wish to die?
Of course I would like to die while conducting but also knowing that the important people are around me.

How do you wish to live?

Like I am now!

For more on what YNS had to say, head to the Arts & Books section.

-- Marcia Adair