Reporting Pat Ciarrocchi
By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the 37-year-old conductor raised his baton at the Kimmel Center on Thursday night, he made history.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin officially took the helm of the world renowned Philadelphia Orchestra as its music director with a gala opening concert featuring internationally known soprano Rene Fleming.
The arrival of Yannick brings a re-birth to the orchestra. The charismatic maestro is its great hope.
“Every time I come here, I just fall in love more with my orchestra, ” said Yannick, in his newly redesigned studio at the Kimmel Center. “That shows that it’s a real relationship to last. “
Simplifying his French-Canadian name to “Yannick” doesn’t diminish the exuberance that dominates his podium. Nor does it dilute that Yannick is the Maestro.
“The main belief I have is that recreating music has to be done with joy. It has to be done with commitment, high concentration, passion and with dedication to the seriousness and importance. But with joy, with a capital ‘J.’”
We found Yannick rehearsing for this weekend’s performances of Verdi’s Requiem, a piece with four international soloists and the Westminster Symphonic Choir that he first conducted when he was 23.
“Nobody knows exactly what the composer wants, we have to look and search for the meaning in the score,” explained Yannick. “As conductor, I have to most importantly convince everyone to go in the direction that I feel about the score. So, I need to be directing what I want… asking precise things. When I talk about holding a baby, when I want them to play softer, you can say, ‘Softer… why softer?… tender.. oh, that’s very different.’”
The Philadelphia Orchestra came out of an 18-month bankruptcy re-organization in the summer. Now, it’s believed to be financially healthier.
Still, Yannick and the Orchestra Board will have to attract big donors, and they’ll have to fill the seats as he and the orchestra make music.
“We have to recreate it in joy and love, and this is really my motto for years to come in Philadelphia. This is a joyful place.”
And it’s hoped to be a place with room for the best in the world to be supported here.
For more information, visit: www.philorch.org