Yesterday, the Philadelphia Orchestra announced the appointment of its new music director: 35-year-old Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin (nay-ZAY say-GHEN). He officially takes the helm for the 2012-13 season, but will be conducting there for the next two years as music director-designate. Mr. Nezet-Seguin (sorry about the absence of accents on the first e in both last names) has one of the best websites that I’ve seen for a conductor. Which got me thinking….
Do most conductors now have their own websites? Is this something that has or will become standard for conductors as well as soloists? As a writer, I’ve been encouraged to establish a presence on the internet for marketing purposes, to begin to develop a “brand,” i.e. the C. C. Yager brand. Are managers or PR people encouraging conductors to do the same? I’ve seen more conductor websites lately, so I’m thinking, yes. And it’s been a surprise that a truly world-renowned and very busy conductor (Leonard Slatkin) writes his own posts. It may be too early, however, to know if conductor websites generate a lot of traffic and benefit a conductor’s “brand.” (And I can imagine conductors of a certain age just cringing about this, too. “Brand? I am not a brand! I’m a conductor.” This is Evan Quinn’s favorite thing to say….)
For young conductors just starting out, I think it’s probably a good thing to establish a presence on the internet, provide a place where fans can congregate and find out their conducting schedules, read reviews. It certainly would not hurt, as long as the website or blog is well designed and welcoming. I’d recommend using Mr. Nezet-Seguin’s as one model, especially if a blog is not an option.
For a while, I toyed with the idea of creating a blog for Evan Quinn (a website proved too expensive). But back then, as well as now, it’s a premature idea. I think once the novel has been published it would be fun to create a blog for Evan to comment on the book and things going on in the music world. It would depend on how much time it would eat away from my other writing. Yes, it would also be writing fiction, however targeted it might be. The choice then becomes: write Evan’s blog or finish Evan’s series of novels. To me, that’s a no-brainer.
Congratulations to Mr. Nezet-Seguin. He has his work cut out for him in Philadelphia. The orchestra has experienced serious financial problems as well as leadership issues, and for a while, it looked like this world famous orchestra might file for bankruptcy. The Philadelphia Orchestra was the first professional orchestra I ever saw and heard in concert when I was in college. I hope to see it regain financial stability and continue to be the extraordinary orchestra that it is, reaching audiences around the world. Good luck, and all the best to you, Mr. Nezet-Seguin!