And only after this [technique, getting things “right”] comes this mysterious thing that is the life of the music.”

-Carlo Maria Giulini

*Theodore Ushev - Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Bulgarian-born Theodore Ushev became known as a poster artist before settling in Montreal in 1999. There he forged his reputation as a prolific animator through Vertical (2003), The Man Who Waited (2006), and Tzaritza (2006). In 2005, he began a trilogy, so far comprising Tower Bawher (2006) and Drux Flux (2008). Ushev was head animator for Jean-François Pouliot's 3D film Facing Champlain (2008).

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

2010 National Arts Centre Award

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is one of the fastest-rising stars on the international classical music scene. Acclaimed by musicians, audiences and critics alike for his musicality, dedication and charisma, he is in great demand as a symphonic and operatic conductor and has appeared with leading orchestras around the world.

Born in Montreal in 1975, Maestro Nézet-Séguin studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal and took master classes with several eminent conductors, notably the great Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini. Artistic Director and Principal Conductor since 2000 of Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain, he has dramatically raised the orchestra's standards and popularity and infused the musicians with his passion for music of many different styles.

In 2008 he was appointed Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked with major orchestras across Canada and is a sought-after guest conductor of leading ensembles in the USA and Europe, among them Staatskapelle Dresden, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony. Recent highlights include the Rotterdam Philharmonic's highly successful Far East tour and Maestro Nézet-Séguin's Salzburg Festival debut (2008), and his debuts at the BBC Proms and New York's Mostly Mozart Festival (2009) and with the Vienna Philharmonic (2010). Upcoming engagements include his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and his first performances of Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the combined forces of the NAC Orchestra and the Orchestre Métropolitain.

His varied operatic work includes productions for the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Montréal, and Nederlands Opera. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009 and will return regularly. Debuts for La Scala, Milan, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden will take place in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. His first three Rotterdam Philharmonic recordings for EMI/Virgin have been very well received, and his extensive ATMA Classique discography with the Orchestre Métropolitain includes several award-winning recordings. Awards and honours include Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist of the Year (2009); Canada Council for the Arts Virginia Parker Award (2000); several Prix Opus from the Conseil québécois de la musique.