Montreal conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin scores two Grammys
Montreal conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin scored two Grammys for his classical works Sunday evening, in a night of ups and downs for Quebec artists at the 2023 awards show.
Nézet-Séguin won best opera recording for Terrance Blanchard's "Fire Shut Up In My Bones," and best classical solo vocal album for "Blanchard: Fire Shut Up In My Bones,"
It isn't Nézet-Séguin's first win; the conductor earned his first Grammy in 2022 for best orchestral performance.
He spoke to CTV News about how each Grammy reflects a piece of what he does as a musician.
"Nobody can ever really count on getting any prize any award like a Grammy," he said. "To me, it's seeing the result of years and years of investment and the mission in which I believe: in music, being able to be act on social issues and being an agent of change of music that can bring new music on the stage and new communities."
The "Fire Shut Up In My Bones" opera is the first time an African American living composer and lead vocalist performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
"That's something I'm really committed to and to give our stage to underrepresented communities, artists, new repertoires as well," said Nézet-Séguin. "It was an amazing event: sold out, packed houses, people coming into opera for the first time. So to be recognized by a Grammy for this is very, very encouraging."
The "Voice of Nature" performance with Renée Fleming was an attempt to address the relationship between nature and humanity.
"She reached out to me in the beginning of the pandemic and said, 'Look, we have all of this time now, together, we can probably get together and do a recital, and I want to have people to reflect on climate change and on our relationship to nature,'" said Nézet-Séguin, who played piano.
Nézet-Séguin was unable to attend on Sunday, as he is in Philadelphia for a performance.
He splits his time between New York, Philadelphia and Montreal, and will be back in Quebec at the end of February.
"Now, with three Grammys, I'm going to have one in each house. That's what I decided," he said with a smile.
LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Montreal conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin
MAKING VIDEOGAME HISTORY
"Assassins Creed: Valhalla" -- a game by Ubisoft Montreal -- received the first Grammy ever handed out for a video game soundtrack.
Composer Stephanie Economou, a New York native, accepted the award in the newly created category.
"Thank you for acknowledging and validating the power of game music," she said.
OTHER QUEBEC NOMINEES
Quebec director Xavier Dolan and producer Nancy Grant were finalists in the best video category for Adele's "Easy on Me," shot in the Eastern Townships. In the end, the award went to Taylor Swift for her self-directed "All Too Well: The Short Film" video.
Montreal DJ and producer Kaytranada, who already has two Grammys under his belt, was nominated for an award in the Best Dance/Electronic Recording category for "Intimiated" featuring H.E.R..
The Grammy would ultimately go to Beyonce for "Break My Soul."
Montreal's Arcade Fire was nominated in the alternative album category for "We" but lost out to Wet Leg's self-titled record, "Wet Leg."
Finally, Montreal-born singer Allison Russell was nominated for "Prodigal Daughter" in the American roots category but lost out by Bonnie Rait.
She was also nominated three times in 2023.
Nézet-Séguin said the variety of different musical talents from Quebec nominated for awards this year shows the province's strength in diversity.
"Quebec has always been a land of culture," he said. "It's not new to see that Quebec artists shine internationally, but this is maybe new that it's not only about a single way of making music... I see this as just another way of Quebec shining through with the very specific way of being expressive, but yet in many, many genres, and that's positive."
With files from the Associated Press.
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