Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Named Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin Named Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year


(Philadelphia, October 14, 2015)—Musical America, the venerable print and online publication utilized by performing arts organizations worldwide for nearly 120 years, today announced the winners of their annual Musical America Awards, recognizing excellence and achievement in all realms of the arts. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, described as the “greatest generator of energy on the international podium,” (Financial Times) has been named the 2016 Artist of the Year, voted on by a panel of his peers. As music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Nézet-Séguin is recognized worldwide as a musical leader of the highest caliber, maintaining his strong sense of musicianship, dedication, and charisma.
“I am deeply and sincerely honored to accept this prestigious honor,” said Nézet-Séguin. “In truth, this goes to all of the musicians I conduct, in Philadelphia, Rotterdam, and Montreal, and throughout the world. These are the people creating the magic that connects audiences to the music, spreading messages of hope and joy.”
“Yannick is a musician of extraordinary breadth and depth in all facets of music-making,” said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “From the Baroque to the contemporary, from chamber music to grand opera, his versatility and curiosity extends authentically, through his work onstage and off. He performs in front of millions yet projects an intimacy that connects him on the most genuine level with musicians and audiences alike. This is a great honor for Yannick, and for Philadelphia, and it is magnificent to see that the world recognizes what we have known since his striking debut with our orchestra in December 2008.”
Musical America has selected an Artist of Year (formerly Musician of the Year) annually since its inaugural awards in 1960, when Leonard Bernstein was named. Since then, artistic heavyweights as Itzhak Pearlman, James Levine, Plácido Domingo, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Yo-Yo Ma have been honored with the award.
Additional Musical America Award winners for 2016 include Tod Machover (Composer of the Year), Jennifer Koh (Instrumentalist of the Year), Mark Padmore (Vocalist of the Year), and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Ensemble of the Year).
The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Terrace Room on Tuesday, December 8.
About Musical America
Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1898, Musical America through the years has appeared in a variety of formats. Today, it is both the International Directory of the Performing Arts and musicalamerica.com.
The annual Directory, known as the “bible” of the industry, features over 14,000 detailed listings of worldwide arts organizations, with over 8,000 artists indexed both alphabetically and categorically. The first Directory was published in 1960, which is also when the tradition of choosing a Musician of the Year began. Awards for Instrumentalist, Conductor, Composer, and Vocalist of the Year date from 1992; Ensemble of the Year from 1995.
Returning to Musical America’s newspaper roots, MusicalAmerica.com was launched in December 1998 and now publishes up to six performing arts news stories daily, by national and international correspondents around the globe. Most of the Directory listings are also available at www.musicalamerica.com.
About Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin continues his inspired leadership of The Philadelphia Orchestra, which began in the fall of 2012. Widely recognized for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, Nézet-Séguin has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. His highly collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike, from the Orchestra’s home in Verizon Hall to the Carnegie Hall stage. The New York Times has called Nézet-Séguin “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”
Nézet-Séguin has taken The Philadelphia Orchestra to new musical heights in concerts at home in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, at the Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and in Philadelphia neighborhoods. He has taken the Orchestra to new musical heights. Highlights of his third season as music director included an Art of the Pipe Organ festival; the 40/40 Project, in which 40 great compositions that hadn’t been heard on subscription concerts in at least 40 years were performed; and Bernstein’s MASS, the pinnacle of the Orchestra’s five-season requiem cycle.
Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. He has been music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic since 2008 and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. He also continues to enjoy a close relationship with the London Philharmonic, of which he was principal guest conductor. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles, and he has conducted critically acclaimed performances at many of the leading opera houses.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) enjoy a long-term collaboration. Under his leadership The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on that label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions (Yannick won a 2014 Echo Klassik Award as conductor of the year for this album). In August 2015, a second recording with pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was released, later to be named Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month for September. Nézet-Séguin continues a fruitful recording relationship with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records; the London Philharmonic and Choir for the LPO label; and the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique.

A native of Montreal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin studied at that city’s Conservatory of Music and continued lessons with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini and with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among Yannick’s honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts in Quebec; and honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey.
To read Yannick’s full bio, please visit philorch.org.
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