Yannick Nézet-Séguin

2008 may have marked the COE and Yannick’s first engagement together – at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon – but in fact Yannick’s love of the Orchestra developed many years earlier, devouring COE recordings conducted by Abbado, Harnoncourt and others. Then when Yannick came from Canada to Europe to study with Carlo Maria Giulini, he got to know the COE as a result of Giulini’s concerts with the Orchestra in Ferrara.

So by the time of Yannick’s debut with the COE in 2008, in his words “it felt like we had already known each other for a long time”. He remembers his first ever rehearsal with the Orchestra as if it were yesterday – “the light in the room, where everyone sat, every second of it”. From the intensity of that first rehearsal, which was immediately so rewarding musically, developed a “deeper and deeper connection”.

Yannick believes that the key to the partnership is “keeping things fresh, by being truly in the moment. To be able to do this, you need the absolute best musicians in the world… The COE’s members totally embrace that kind of freedom, and that is very inspiring to me because I can then truly express all my ideas about the music without any limitations”.

We have had so many exciting projects with Yannick to date, including many marathon performances and recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, such as the 2012 cycle of Schumann symphonies and 2016 cycle of Mendelssohn symphonies. The Mozart late opera series is ongoing, with the latest opera La Clemenza di Tito just recorded in Baden-Baden.

The COE’s principal double bass Enno Senft said: “It is only a natural progression of our friendship with Yannick to welcome him as Honorary Member. His unfailing musical intuition, infectious energy and depth of understanding just bring out the best of the COE spirit. Not to mention his sense of humour! Simply listen to our latest recording of Mendelssohn Symphony No.1 for proof. Yannick and the COE, we speak the same language.”


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