Houston hires Yannick ex-aide

Houston hires Yannick ex-aide


norman lebrecht

December 10, 2019

Yue Bao, the newly installed conducting fellow at Houston Symphony, was formerly assistant to Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Curtis.

The Shanghai-born baton also did spells at Cabrillo, Buffalo and Minnesota. She’s got one foot on the US circuit.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Unfortunately the picture does not show her feet, but presumably they will be as tastefully wrapped as the rest of her elegant outfit.

    • Wiki says:

      John Borstlap (4 November 1950, Rotterdam) is a composer pioneering a revival of tonal and classical traditions. Although he is Dutch in a formal sense, his music is rooted in German musical traditions, the countries being very close. Also, he is an author on cultural subjects related to music and the visual arts.

  • Curtis alum says:

    Actually, she studied with Yannick at Curtis; she wasn’t exactly his “assistant”…

  • Miroslav says:

    The sad day will soon come when White Europeans no longer play White European classical music. It’s an absolute shame.

    • James says:

      Is this racist drivel really going to be allowed here? This is a site where much of the classical music world gets its news – please don’t allow it to be sullied by this garbage.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      You have nothing to worry about, as the main problem with “white European classical music” is that many musical institutions and radio stations are playing the same 100 white European works, over and over and over and over, etc.

    • John Borstlap says:

      ‘White European music’ does not exist, and if European music were white, it would always remain white whatever ethnicity would perform it.

      In the same way ‘black jazz’ does not exist.

      In the same way it is not true that people with red hair are, overtly or covertly, communist. Communism can do without hair colour.

      In the same way there does not exist ‘Jewish music’, there exists music played by Jews.

      In spite of many attempts, music cannot assume an ethnicity.

      Etc. etc….

      • Dirk says:

        Take a time machine back to 1965 and tell Miles Davis that there is no such thing as “black jazz.” That’s like telling the Japanese that there is no such thing as “Japanese karate” since any human can perform it. Also try to tell them that there is no such thing as “Japanese sushi” since other people are also capable of cutting raw fish using sharp blades. Miles said that he could always tell if a Black man was playing. Other famous Black artists claim that jazz is linked to African tribal DNA. That is going a bit far, but some have been very transparent about it. It’s funny how liberals celebrate diversity only when it serves their agenda.

        We can say that European classical music is in fact “White European classical music” because White Europeans are the ones who created it with a White European heart and soul that was cultivated by White European culture. Sweeping that reality under a rug does not change the facts. We are the ones who have played it the longest as well. It’s “in our blood” and I won’t have someone try to tell me otherwise. Sooner or later the Vienna Philharmonic will lose its classic Viennese sound because it was basically blackmailed by the left. Absolutely tragic.

        Asian classical music (as in musical compositions) is simply not as popular since it is not very appealing and doesn’t have too much to say on an emotional level, otherwise we would all be playing that instead. And I can imagine Chinese audiences saying, “All this artistry that these White performers are bringing to the table is so disturbing!”

        So many people are simply bored out of their skulls and this is one of the reasons why classical music is in trouble. Being funded by wealthy parents and acquiring a strong technique only go so far. You are going to see audiences dwindle as some people ask “Where’s the art at?”

        • John Borstlap says:

          These are all well-known arguments, but they miss the point: cultural traditions are born locally and ethnically, but they inhabit another level than the humus on which they have grown, because art is in essence something psychological and spiritual, and hence accessible by and available for all humanity. The artistic urge and sensitivity is a universal quality of the human species, in spite of all the variations. The same with religion: a bhuddist in the West has the same chances to be truly bhuddist as a local chinese bhuddist. The same goes with Christianity. (As far as I know, it is only the Jewish religion which remains, according to its practitioners, attached to ethnicity.) To tie music exclusively to locality and race, is a misunderstanding, and its practitioners can be mistaken as anybody else – so much for Miles Davis’ pronouncement. The same misjudged argument was at the root of Wagner’s notorious pamflet ‘Das Judenthum in der Musik’, with desastrous consequences both for people of Jewish descent and himself.

          Which does not mean that indeed it happens that ethnicity plays a role in the degree in which an art form is ‘absorbed’, locality and ethnicity can be strong advantages. But that does not mean that art is inherently local and ethnic. It is a populist and rightwing-extremist notion that culture is ‘owned’ by locality and race, and therefore the nature of culture has to be defended, especially today. Much of this misunderstanding is due to the nature of Western civilization:


          • Mark says:

            I have no problem with Asians, as a race, playing classical music. What I do have a problem with is classical music being played by “robots.”

    • Hmus says:

      SO you are grateful, then, that a Chinese person has invested her life in making up for that shameful omission on the part of “white Europeans” then, …right?

      • Ben P. says:

        Not at all as I believe there is great truth to the “Asians play like robots” stereotype. A great number of leading musicians and teachers will say the same thing behind closed doors. Classical music is largely funded by Asians, so it makes sense why people don’t normally share their opinions openly. I am not racist against Asians. I simply do not like how they perform classical music and many of my colleagues share the same feeling.

        How can people who are programmed to take orders but never ask questions be artists? It may even be at the biological level as there is so much of an obsession with perfection that almost all aspects of art are overlooked/misunderstood. This can be clearly seen in masterclasses.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Huh? Why do you believe all Asians play exactly the same way? And all Viennese play in the Viennese way? Just bizarre?

  • Fiddlebabs says:

    So much talent blooming from under Yannick’s wings. Wishing Yue a wonderful growing experience with the musicians, staff and audiences of the Houston Symphony!

  • Dcmusician says:

    Yue is a great conductor, lucky to have played a few concerts with her. Great hire for Houston!

  • fflambeau says:

    She has a very distinguished background:

    “This past May, Bao completed her tenure as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, and prior to joining the Houston Symphony, she was the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2019. In 2018, she served as the David Effron Conducting Fellow at the Chautauqua Music Festival. While at Curtis, Bao worked extensively with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of both the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as with such eminent conductors as San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. She was cover conductor for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra from 2015 to 2017 and the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä in 2019, and as a guest conductor has led the New Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra, and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Bao began her studies as a pianist and earned a Bachelor of Music both in Orchestral Conducting and Opera Accompanying in 2014 from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She also holds a Master of Music and Professional Studies Diploma from the Mannes College of Music in 2016. Bao made her Houston Symphony debut as part of the Assistant Conductor audition in May 2019, conducting Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila and the offstage ensemble in the finale to Ives’ Symphony No. 4 as part of the Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells” program. She also conducted the annual Theater District Open House concert this August. In March of 2020, Bao conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in their Music Around the Globe program, part of their Young People’s Concerts series, and the Houston Symphony in four Upper Elementary concerts that help facilitate students’ active listening skills and inspire students begin or further their involvement with music.”

    She looks to be an up and coming star.

  • fflambeau says:

    Houston is a big city, 6th largest in all of North America, with 2.3 million people and a metro population of 7 million: that’s bigger than Munich, twice the size of Birmingham, and 3 times the size of Naples. It is also very rich and so is the orchestra. Some of its past conductors include Leopold Stokowski, John Barbirolli, Andre Previn, Sergiu Comissiona and Christoph Eschenbach. The orchestra won a Grammy award in 2018 for best opera recording.

  • Carl Franck says:

    Houston, we have a problem.

  • Masha says:

    I was fortunate enough to see Ms Bao conduct 6 or 7 times in Philadelphia and each time, I was impressed with her elegance and grace on the podium which translated to musicians who played beautifully. Isn’t that what matter to us as audience members? Ms. Bao creates music that intrigues, excites, and unites us.

  • Philly is my home now says:

    What great news! I played under Yue at Curtis, and she is fantastic. My favorite. Congratulations!

  • Angela says:

    I saw Yue conduct. She was lovely and the orchestra sounded great!