Globally Acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Speak at Drexel’s 2023 Commencement

Photo of Yannick Nezet Seguin
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music and artistic director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, will address the class of 2023 at Drexel University’s commencement ceremony on June 16.

Known internationally for his musicianship, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music and artistic director of The Philadelphia Orchestra (Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair), will address the class of 2023 at Drexel University’s commencement ceremony on June 16. In what has become an annual tradition, Drexel’s university-wide commencement will return to Citizens Bank Park to celebrate the graduating class. The ceremony will also be live-streamed.

Nézet-Séguin, known for his intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, has beguiled critics and audiences alike. He is currently in his 11th season with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and recently extended his contract through 2030. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”

Nézet-Séguin holds an original and unique place in the American musical landscape. He has proven to be both an evolutionary and a revolutionary, developing the mighty “Philadelphia Sound” in new ways in collaboration with the great musicians of the Orchestra. Together, Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra have commissioned an astonishing 37 works from an ever-growing group of international composers. In addition, Nézet-Séguin is passionately committed to performing the music of under-appreciated composers of the past, such as Florence Price, the first Black woman to have her work performed by a major American symphony orchestra. Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra received their first-ever GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2022 for their recording of Price’s First and Third Symphonies.

“With his musicianship, dedication and ethos Yannick has inspired audiences and musicians around the world. As our graduates prepare to make a positive difference with their creative and professional pursuits, I am honored to have them draw inspiration from the experiences of a musical leader of the highest caliber,” said Drexel President John Fry.

Nézet-Séguin became the third music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2018. In addition, he has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has also served as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic.

In 2018, Nézet-Séguin signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Under his leadership, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with 12 releases on that label. His upcoming recordings will include projects with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestre Métropolitain, with which he will also continue to record for ATMA Classique.

A native of Montreal, Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini. He has received numerous honors, including an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Montreal; France’s Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; ECHO KLASSIK’s 2014 Conductor of the Year; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award and the Prix Denise-Pelletier, and the Oskar Morawetz Award.

For his leadership in elevating the arts in Philadelphia and beyond, Drexel University will present Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

More information about the University-wide Commencement ceremony is available at this link.

When traveling to any of Drexel's Commencement ceremonies, make sure to plan ahead for traffic and detours and leave with plenty of time to spare if your route will be impacted by the I-95 collapse near the Cottman Avenue exit. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the City of Philadelphia are sharing updates and detours.