With Nézet-Séguin, openly gay, at the helm at Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera, signs of generational change

Posted on: January 17, 2019

“It wasn’t love at first sight when Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the new music director of the Metropolitan Opera, and his partner, Pierre Tourville, met as students at the Montreal Conservatory almost 25 years ago,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Tuesday’s (1/15) New York Times. “It’s not unusual to share meet-cute stories over cheap cocktails at Julius’, one of the oldest and coziest gay bars in the city. But it was an extraordinary conversation to be having with the music director of the nation’s largest performing arts institution. While culture—particularly high culture—is indelibly associated with gay tastemakers, audiences and creators, it’s a sign of how outmoded our conception of authority is that remarkably few major performing arts leaders have been openly gay. …. Despite gay pioneers like Michael Tilson Thomas (at the San Francisco Symphony) and Marin Alsop (in Baltimore), conducting remains an overwhelmingly straight (and male, and white) profession…. Mr. Nézet-Séguin and Mr. Tourville … have been pleasantly surprised at having Mr. Tourville mentioned in the public ceremonies that introduced Mr. Nézet-Séguin as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (a position he held through last year) and the Philadelphia Orchestra (where his contract has been extended until 2026).”

Posted January 17, 2019

In photo: Yannick Nézet-Séguin (right) with his partner, violist Pierre Tourville, at Julius, a gay bar in New York City. Photo by Jeenah Moon / New York Times