Yannick Nézet-Séguin is one of the most hotly pursued conductors on the planet right now. To his orchestral “families” in Rotterdam, Montreal, and London he has now added the illustrious Philadelphia Orchestra, once dubbed by Rachmaninov “the greatest orchestra in the world”, and his debut recording with them for Deutsche Grammophon pays tribute to one of his most celebrated (indeed often notorious) predecessors, Leopold Stokowski, the wizard of sonority. You may remember Mickey Mouse shaking hands with him in Disney’s classic Fantasia and Nézet-Séguin has chosen two of the works which featured so memorably in that landmark film – Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Stokowski’s thrilling transcription of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Nézet-Séguin’s expressive physicality on the platform has intensified the debate about what we see enhancing and illuminating what we hear – and he is as persuasive a talker as he is mover. In this exclusive audio podcast for Sinfini Music he talks enthusiastically about the distinct character of the world’s great orchestras, not least his own, and how important it is to celebrate their individuality. He talks, too, staying grounded in his life outside music, about time out in Montreal with his three “operatic” cats, and how music making is only interesting when it reflects real life and real emotions.
Credit/copyright: BBC/Chris Christodoulou