Yannick Nézet-Séguin has written an open letter to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In it, the conductor asks for immediate support for the arts and the creation of a cabinet position dedicated to the arts.
Although a Canadian national, Nézet-Séguin is music director at two of the US’s most prestigious ensembles: the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“In order for the arts and culture sector to survive and flourish after a year and more of economic devastation, I urge your administration to take immediate action,” wrote Nézet-Séguin. “While the vaccine is now here…the financial implications will last for years without meaningful government intervention.”
As for the cabinet position, he said this is necessary to make sure the arts are always part of the conversation in Washington: “I ask that you consider appointing a cabinet level champion dedicated to arts and culture. In order to progress, to elevate the arts, we need a voice at the table that will be heard.”
The conductor added that Donald Trump’s administration has done a great deal of damage to the arts, and that the new administration must restore confidence.
“During the last four years, the arts were effectively dismissed, the NEA and NEH were deemed “wasteful”, and the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH) was disbanded…I urge your administration to prioritise the arts for the benefit of this country, for all Americans.”