“We had these dinners where we said: Oh, one day we’re going to go to Vienna, one day we’re going to go to Paris,” Mr. Nézet-Séguin said. “That was part of the dream.”
They started a Baroque music ensemble, corralling players and pasting together scores in all-night marathons. Mr. Nézet-Séguin began to build his conducting career in Canada.
In 2000, he became music director of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal — and, in 2003, Mr. Tourville’s boss there. (Yes, it’s a bit awkward and stressful for your partner to try out for a viola seat in the orchestra you conduct, even if the audition is blind. “Of course, as soon as he did one note I recognized it,” Mr. Nézet-Séguin said.)
Both of them still have their positions with the orchestra, and the arrangement has proved an ideal one: The ensemble is part-time, allowing Mr. Tourville to travel with Mr. Nézet-Séguin. “It’s kind of a package deal, I guess,” Mr. Tourville said. “When Yannick is there, most of the time I’m there, too.”
They have been pleasantly surprised at having Mr. Tourville mentioned in the public ceremonies that introduced Mr. Nézet-Séguin as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (a position he held through last year) and the Philadelphia Orchestra (where his contract has been extended until 2026). Mr. Tourville was an important factor in Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s decision to concentrate on Philadelphia, New York and Montreal, and to curtail his work in Europe for the time being.
“There’s a lot of difference between, door to door, three and a half hours and no jet lag, compared to, like, 10 hours and you arrive and can’t do anything for three days,” Mr. Tourville said. “It was becoming a little crazy.”