Montreal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was named musical director of New York's Metropolitan Opera on Thursday. Here are some details about his life.
Born: March 6, 1975, in Montreal. He's 41.
Start: He began music lessons at age 5 but has said he chose to be a conductor at age 10, after watching maestro Charles Dutoit conduct the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. "I stuck with learning the piano because you have to master an instrument to be a conductor. But I was always a conductor at heart," he said.
Family: His father, Serge Séguin, and mother, Claudine Nézet, were both professors of education. Ms. Nézet now has a hand in managing Mr. Nézet-Séguin's contracts and website. He also has two sisters.
Partner: Pierre Tourville, a violist with Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain, plans to move to New York with Mr. Nézet-Séguin.
Childhood: His mother describes a curious, precocious and good-humoured boy who found inspiration in his surroundings. "He could have been an architect or anything but he had it all figured out," Ms. Nézet said in a 2008 interview with a European magazine. Mr. Nézet-Séguin says he wanted to be pope when he was a child but decided the road was too long.
Mentors: Mr. Nézet-Séguin spent two summers as a teenager working with Joseph Flummerfelt, a New Jersey choir director, who the Montrealer says gave him his only real conductor lessons. He also spent a year with Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini in 1997-98.
Breaks: In 1994 he became music director of the Choeur polyphonique de Montréal, at age 19. In 1998 he becomes assistant conductor and chorus master of the Opéra de Montréal. In 2000 he is named music director of the Orchestre Métropolitain, a post he will continue to hold. In 2009 the New York Times described the shift from leading choral music to symphony direction as "almost unheard of."
Life: A fitness buff and cat lover, Mr. Nézet-Séguin posted a Facebook selfie just this week wearing a tank top on a jog around Tokyo's Imperial Palace. Mr. Nézet-Séguin is noted for his energy on stage. He drinks Gatorade in the wings to stay hydrated. Mr. Nézet-Seguin once said his life consists of eating, sleeping, exercising and working on music. He had surgery in March for a type of hernia often associated with athletes. "People think of a jetset lifestyle, but he's really more like a professional athlete. Or a monk," said longtime musical collaborator and friend, oboist Lise Beauchamp. "He's made a lot of sacrifices to get here. Maybe now he can have a bit more of a normal life."
Disposition: All those who encounter Mr. Nézet-Séguin describe his boundless energy and enthusiasm, positive outlook, charisma and loyalty. Years ago Mr. Nézet-Séguin said he could never work for his hometown's richer and more prestigious Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestre Métropolitain had given him his big break, after all. "I adore him, and it's hard to find anyone who doesn't," Ms. Beauchamp said.
Lucky charm: Mr. Nézet-Séguin has said he never conducts an orchestra without his superhero underwear.
Additional sources: Globe and Mail archives, Montreal La Presse, Radio-Canada, New York Times, Scena, Philadelphia Inquirer, Macleans, Algemeen Dagblad.