Yannick to Chicago: I got no time for you

Yannick to Chicago: I got no time for you


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2011

The Montreal conductor Yannick Nézét-Séguin has issued a short statement, explaining his decision to cancel Chicago concerts this month.

 ‘Due to an overly taxing fall schedule, I made the extremely difficult decision to create additional time in my schedule for rest and study.’

That’s it. No apology, no direct communication with Chicago, its musicians and media, no promise to make good – no, the statement was issued by the Philadelphia Orchestra, via the New York Times. Andrew Patner gives the local reaction here. 

This is a very bad start for a young conductor. I hope he does well next season in Philadelphia, because he won’t be welcomed many places else for a very long time.

In any other business, Yannick and his new band would face a lawsuit for breach of contract.


  • Marie Lamb says:

    Not the way to do business, IMHO. Perhaps YN-S is learning the hard way about how to manage, or not manage, one’s schedule and one’s life. If one is so over-scheduled that it’s suddenly necessary to drop out of a prominent début gig “for rest and study,” that’s reason for concern in itself. Both he and his management need to look at this further. This is worrisome on several levels. Over-scheduling leaves one susceptible to burnout or illness. Audiences are disappointed when a performance they’re looking forward to is cancelled on short notice, with little said for days about the reason. Too much of this can leave one with a reputation for unreliability, especially when one doesn’t even apologize or arrange to make up the performances, as seems to be the case here. If YN-S did this to spend more time in Philadelphia because of his new job there, perhaps he should have just said so. Better yet, perhaps he shouldn’t have made a commitment with Chicago that he couldn’t keep.
    Saying “no” or “thanks, but some other time” isn’t a sin, and can prevent situations like this. What I’ve heard of Nézet-Séguin so far shows that he has great talent and promise. However, as my first boss in radio told new announcers: “Please give us sufficient notice when you plan to take time off. NOBODY LIKES SURPRISES.” Still true: such unprofessionally-handled “surprises” as this one create bad feelings all around and can damage any career, whether in or out of music. I hope that a young conductor of such promise can learn to set priorities and get his act together before there are more problems for him.

  • ariel says:

    If they put out money for ads posters etc . can’t they sue
    him for costs . It seems his
    word is worthless and the
    Philadelphia gang hould keep a sharp eye on him -you never know how long he’ll be with
    them until a $$$$$ offer comes
    along .It is not a matter of priorities, it’s is being an
    honourable person . On
    the other hand he might believe
    he is the famous conductor Seguin and everyday rules do
    not apply to him .It is only
    about honour.

  • Once again, what Marie Lamb said! 😉
    And thanks for the links!