Just in: Yannick’s local orchestra plans first tourmain
The first orchestra to appoint Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its artistic director, his home town ensemble, is going on a 7-city Europe tour with him in a year’s time.
The tour is intended as a showcase for the burgeoning cultural life of Quebec.
Local reports are crediting the conductor with its transformation.
Press release, just landed:
Montreal, November 24, 2016 — The Orchestre Métropolitain is pleased to announce an international tour—the first in its history—with its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Specifically, the Orchestre will perform seven concerts in six European cities (Dortmund, Cologne and Hamburg in Germany, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Paris in France) between November 23 and December 4, 2017. Two renowned Quebec soloists will join the Orchestre, namely contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux and cellist Stéphane Tétreault, as will two other artists frequently seen and heard in Quebec, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and pianist Alexandre Tharaud. Two programs are to be performed during the tour. Besides showcasing the Orchestre’s talent, the programs will each include a work by a Quebec composer and, in a nod to our roots, works by French and English composers.
The Orchestre Métropolitain’s artistic director and principal conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is delighted with how this major project has come together. “Tours are part of my life,” he says. “This time, it gives me great pride to tour with my Orchestre Métropolitain, which is so close to my heart. To present this ensemble to European audiences, who know it through its recordings but have not yet had the opportunity to hear it in concert, is especially exciting for me, who has performed in all these cities and all these famous venues with my other orchestras. This tour with the Métropolitan’s musicians is an important step on our shared musical path. I am filled with immense joy at the prospect of touring with my friends in the Métropolitain, and I am all the more proud to share these moments with exceptional artists such as Alexandre Tharaud, Jean-Guihen Queyras and, of course, Stéphane Tétreault and Marie-Nicole Lemieux, great musicians who are celebrated around the globe.”
That ought to be the toughest ticket in Europe next winter. I’ve heard these guys. They’re good.
Not sure what “burgeoning cultural life on Quebec” means, though. Cultural life in Quebec has always to some extent been the envy of English Canada. In one of the less disagreeable aspects of official language politics and realities, the fact of a French-speaking population in an ocean of anglos has always made for a vibrant cultural scene in Quebec. Television, cinema, drama, books, songs — all have developed a strong identity as so many Quebecers depend upon them for any cultural exposure at all.
Ballet, modern dance, painting, sculpture and other graphic arts, and music, classical and popular, have all been very potent in Quebec also, perhaps because there is such a strong cultural environment and one that has always had a more European approach to artists than the more staid precincts of English Canada.
Just as Canada punches well above its weight in producing great classical musicians, Quebec carries more than its share. Yannick’s little tribe will come to the old world of its roots with confidence and assurance, rooted as they are in a dynamic artistic world, and here is one case not to skip out on the unknown music. Quebec composers, if well-chosen — and there is little reason to doubt Yannick’s taste or judgment — will rock your socks off!
Québec is a wonderful place for classical music, with an abundance of festivals all over the province.
Sadly, Québec is also one of the worst places for composers. if you aren’t a Boulezian disciple, you are nobody and all doors are closed to you.
Slowly, very slowly, this is changing, but sadly, an entire generation of wonderful composers has been set aside for the crime of “populism” and denied any exposure whatsoever. now they are all too old to be “emerging”.
And we have conductors like Kent Nagano, a hack who refuses to play anything by a Canadian composer, or Yannick Nézet-Séguin who barely recognizes that there is any new music in his hometown.
I will always hate Boulez and his disciples, and forever blame them for the damage they did to Québec’s new music scene.
And yes, you can accuse me of bitterness. I will gladly accept the label, because it is true. Get stomped on long enough and you too will be bitter.
Facts are stubborn things.
Here’s a good article on the tour, which will follow the OM’s first release on Deutsche Grammophon (backing Rolando Villazon and another singer):
Goddammit, aren’t there any OTHER fricken’ French-Canadian works?
Not only is it a battle worn overplayed “standard” (it seems to be the only piece by a French Canadian that ever gets played), it’s also nearly 70 years old.
All fair comment, but I suspect that most of the burghers of Dortmund will be hearing Kaléidoscope for the first time. Like most hits, it is a hit for a reason. It seems to me that the only piece from Quebec that has had more than one-off international exposure is Vivier’s Orion (which Dutoit and the RPO gave at the Proms in 2009).