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“Congratulations for making it here,” Nézet-Séguin told what was left of the audience.
“You’ve officially earned the title of ‘die-hard fans of the Philadelphia Orchestra.’ ” His tone was cheerful.
Second, part of his extraordinary success is his ability to find long moments of serenity and focus within the jet-setting schedule of a modern concert star.
“When we appointed Yannick, we appointed Yannick, Pierre, Serge and Claudine,” Allison Vulgamore, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s president and chief executive officer, told me.
The day after this snow-crossed concert, Nézet-Séguin would celebrate his 40th birthday, though he is a compact, wide-eyed man who looks 10 years younger.
But in 2009, I watched him lead the Métropolitain and two vocal soloists in a performance of Mahler’s , in a smelly college auditorium near the east-end Olympic stadium, that stands as one of the great concert experiences of my life.
After the last notes died away, Nézet-Séguin held his baton aloft for nearly a minute amid awed silence. Even after he dropped his arm, the crowd withheld its reaction, until finally he tossed his baton onto the ledge of his music stand. None of the musicians I spoke to for this article would say a word against him.
(“Remember the name, ladies and gentlemen,” Jackman said of his diminutive host. ”) Other conductors sometimes begrudge these forced departures from the serious task of leading a serious ensemble. It happened again in January, when he led the orchestra in a free concert to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The concert featured a performance of a new piece for orchestra and chorus by Hannibal, a composer and jazz trumpeter who used to perform under his given name, Marvin Peterson.