Yannick's Essentials

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

The Met recently named the dynamic young maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin the company’s new Music Director. So, what inspires the next generation of conducting talent? The Montreal-born Nézet-Séguin, who also presides over the Philadelphia Orchestra, shared his musts, musical and otherwise.

My international career started to take off in 2005, at the same time Nadal started to win major tournaments. We’ve met a few times since then, and we have a great appreciation for each other. He goes for every shot the same way I like to go for every note!

Of course, I love great voices. And I love great divas! I get inspired when I listen to the iconic jazz divas, and of all of them, Sarah Vaughan might be my favorite. Whether to unwind, or to reflect, or dream, Sarah’s voice is unparalleled.

I have had cats since I was born, and they are always an essential part of my well-being. They teach me resilience, affection, understanding, independence ... I now have three: Rodolfo, Mélisande, and the youngest one ... Rafa!

When I got accepted into the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal to study piano at age 12, my parents and I looked for a small grand piano. By total coincidence we came across this unique Pleyel from the 1920s that belonged to one of Quebec’s great “chansonniers,” Lionel Daunais. Its unique sound and beauty shaped my student years and still gives me much pleasure whenever I work on chamber music or song recitals with singers.

I have been lucky enough to go to St. Barts for many years now, once a year, sometimes more. I love the perfect balance of the incredible nature, the majesty of the sea, and fantastically great restaurants. It is my favorite place to retreat ... and to study opera scores!

A few years ago, at the Frieze Art Fair in London, I fell in love with the works of Idris Khan. This visual artist has a very keen sensitivity for poetry and, especially, music. I am now collecting some of his works, and they all have a special resonance with me, like this Rite of Spring, which is now in my Philadelphia home.

For a conductor carrying scores, good bags are an essential part of life. These two designers, Byron and Dexter Peart, do wonderful bags, as beautiful as they are practical. They also design clothes, shoes—and they are from Montreal! They now have two boutiques in New York, one of which is the Apothecary located in the NoMad Hotel (also one of my all-time favorite places to have dinner).