Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a cultural icon of Rotterdam

Photo: François Goupil
The conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin is making a european tour with the Orchestre Métropolitain since 23 November.

On the very special day of the european tour of the Metropolitan Orchestra this Thursday evening, as Yannick Nézet-Séguin will know that “his family” in montreal, which adopted 17 years ago, to his audience of Rotterdam, who cherishes the past ten seasons.


“This concert with us will be something special,” says Neil Wallace, managing director of the Doelen concert hall, in which occurs the Rotterdam philharmonic Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is music director since 2008. “Yannick is at home here and the orchestra will be at Yannick. For one evening, the Doelen, this will be among them. “


Neil Wallace, who presides over the Doelen since 2006, prides himself on having spotted the chef in quebec. It was in 2006, during a concert by the Brussels Philharmonic, in the work of a composer flamand. “I couldn’t believe my ears, he confides in the Duty. I sent an SMS to Jan Raes, director general of the orchestra, who went to hear Yannick in Bournemouth. When Yannick is arrived to lead the first time in the Doelen, I have seen most of the members of the board of directors of the orchestra sitting in the room. The sign does not lie. Then, everything happened very quickly. “


Moreover, it had to be fast : “in the appointment, the management told me that there had to temper the enthusiasm of certain other european orchestras, who were also looking to attract Yannick. “


Change of style


In 2006, Yannick Nézet-Séguin succeeded Valery Gergiev. A change in radical style. The Russian chef is known not to be a repeater hard. “Gergiev was able to get very quick replies from the orchestra, and Yannick has used this reactivity to work,” says George Wiegel, the current general manager of the Rotterdam philharmonic Orchestra.


“I enjoyed Gergiev, but we know that it is on the whole the planet at the same time. There, we had the impression of having someone willing to invest with us and to do in depth work. With his youth, his enthusiasm, and incredibly sympathetic, Yannick has, on a different directory, done detail work, especially on the colors, ” says the flutist Juliette Hurel.


The former artistic director, Henk Swinnen, had told us about in 2014, taking the example of the 4th Symphony of Mahler, of how meteoric Yannick Nézet-Séguin to evolve in a work. “We grew up at the same time, relativize Juliette Hurel. At the beginning, Yannick wanted to control everything. The years helping, he is more relaxed and has more left to do. Here, we’re a mature which everyone benefits. When you see him today, he is so relax and comfortable. From the beginning it was already great, but it is true that it grows. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but each time, it is even more in love with him. “


The limits to miracles


These sparks artistic are they felt on the attendance and the profile of the spectators ? “Everyone likes to Yannick, his warmth, his joy of making music and his joy to make the public happy,” says George Wiegel. But the director of the orchestra and its charismatic leader have had to fill gaps. “The biggest change has been the crisis of 2008, which has had repercussions until 2014. We have now recovered what we had lost, and Yannick has always been a part of this revival, ” says Mr. Wiegel. Beyond that, ” Yannick has helped us create a younger audience, which is believed to substantially [20 % these past 2 years], but it remains an audience volatile. “


View of the Doelen, the perspective is a little different. To Neil Wallace, ” the energy of Yannick and his charisma have an impact, but you can’t reduce an individual what is going on in a city like Rotterdam. Moreover, in the realm of symphonic music, the urban reality of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Montreal or Seattle is not the same. Therefore, any generalization is biased because each city has its own challenges. The demographics of Rotterdam is very young and the culture is not strictly speaking a classic. Yannick has given a youthful look to the orchestra, but this has not had an impact on the room because on its 600 000 annual visitors, only a minority comes from the orchestra. “


Two things are certain in the eyes of Neil Wallace : “Yannick Nézet-Séguin has had all the necessary support in Rotterdam, where he is a cultural icon. The public loves her, everyone loves her. And, by the way, classical music has need to multiply Yannick, because despite the commitment and the passion, live the music is a battle, a commander can not win alone. “


As for Juliette Hurel, it summarizes well the phenomenon that represents a tour with the chef from quebec : “in The United States, three years ago, we had an osmosis incomparable. Yannick is so loving, so attentive to each one, so in the music that we have known moments of friendship and musicality incredible. I don’t know if I stay it another time in my life. “The flutist, who will be there Thursday evening to listen to his colleagues from Montreal, would like to live in denial of what awaits him in eight months. “I can’t imagine that he would leave. Unfortunately, this is the reality, but this is not possible… “

Christophe Huss is the guest of the Orchestre Métropolitain during his european tour.

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