Maestro move: Yannick signs off

Maestro move: Yannick signs off


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2015

It has been announced that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will leave the Rotterdam Philharmonic as principal conductor after ten years, in 2018. He will accept, like Valery Gergiev before him, the title of honorary conductor and will return at frequent intervals. This deal has been sold to the players as ‘Yannick stays’. Actually, it’s Yannick goes.

Yannick has struggled to balance Rotterdam with two other posts in Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal.

He said in an official statement: ‘What will continue after 2018 is my unique, deep and wonderful connection with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and this is very meaningful to me. The format of our collaboration will change; plans are under active discussion and details will be announced at a later stage.’


The Rotterdam Phil has been unsettled by a long dispute with its general manager, who went on sick leave last year and was finally eased out in January. The orchestra presently has Hans Pott as acting chief exec.


  • Peter Phillips says:

    Doesn’t this take us back to the BBC Omnibus programme on Slipped Disc yesterday? I simply don’t believe that one conductor can be effective in three posts on two continents,as well as guesting. Say what you like about Rattle – and people do – he has given the largest part of his time to the BPO and previously to the CBSO. The comparison is with the likes of Szell, Ormandy and Reiner in the USA and Rattle, Barbirolli and Gibson in the UK.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Probably he will be relieved to be out of the country.

  • Geert says:

    Dear Mr Lebrecht,

    Thank you for giving the Rotterdam Philharmonic the attention it deserves. This truly amazing orchestra has a great tradition and a long history when it comes to finding young and promising conductors.

    I was surprised to read in your article that Yannick “signs off”. Yannick’s contract was renewed for another 5 years in 2013. Yannick, nor the orchestra have ever pretended that Yannick Nézet-Séguin would stay as a principal conductor after 2018. Therefore, the announcement that Yannick becomes honorary conductor of the orchestra, means that the very strong bond between the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick will continue after 2018.

  • Emil Archambault says:

    How exactly has he ‘struggled’ to balance his three posts?

  • Andrew D says:

    No surprise at all. If one read about his contract renewal in 2013, you would know that this was planned and good on Rotterdam and YNS to maintain such a fruitful relationship into the future.

    Mr Lebrecht, where in the world did you ever receive any notion YNS has “struggled” to maintain his posts?? Quite the contrary to anyone else. An entirely confusing claim.

  • Jan de Jong says:

    Finally, Yannick can conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra which he wasn’t allowed to until now (as stated in his Rotterdam contract).