For Immediate Release
CRISTIAN MĂCELARU TO BECOME NEW CHIEF CONDUCTOR OF WDR SINFONIEORCHESTER
COLOGNE, GERMANY (May 2, 2018) – Cristian Măcelaru, 38, is to become the new Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, one of Europe’s leading orchestras, effective with the 2019/2020 season. In September 2019, he will succeed the current Chief Conductor, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who has successfully led the orchestra for nine years.
WDR General Director Tom Buhrow says: “With Cristian Măcelaru, we have succeeded in gaining the services of an outstanding conductor who is in great demand all over the world. We are delighted to announce that this artist of the new generation will face the future together with our WDR Symphony Orchestra, which has achieved an outstanding international standard and reputation in recent years.”
Cristian Măcelaru is Music Director and Conductor of the internationally renowned Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, succeeding Marin Alsop to the post in 2016. He attracted international attention for the first time in 2012, when he stepped into the breach with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, deputizing for Pierre Boulez. In the same year, he received the “Sir Georg Solti Award” for young conductors, followed in 2014 by the “Solti Conducting Award”. Since then, Măcelaru has performed regularly at the podium of the best American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra. A particularly close collaboration connects him with the Philadelphia Orchestra: Since his debut in 2013, he has been on the podium of this orchestra over 100 times and served there for three seasons as Conductor-in-Residence. In Europe, he has been in great demand as a guest conductor with many well-known orchestras and festivals, among others the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, Royal Concertgebouw, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
WDR Radio Director Valerie Weber states: “We expect a great deal from his European-American socialization because, on the one hand, his heart is full of the European spirit of classical music; while on the other, he has learned in America never to lose sight of the audience. His repertoire is diverse and he is very interested in communicating music to a wide audience”.
Cristian Măcelaru says: “I’m deeply grateful for the invitation to join the wonderful WDR family. We shared memorable moments on stage that inspired us all to deepen our relationship, and with this in mind, I am extremely happy to begin my work as Chief Conductor. Together with the remarkable musicians and staff of the WDR Symphony we will continue to build on the outstanding artistic legacy left by my illustrious predecessors. We share an art form that is meaningful and through it, we are committed to enrich the community we serve. With our artistic excellence at the forefront, we are also exploring new ways to reach out to a greater audience who will benefit from the impact art can have in our lives.”
Cristian Măcelaru was born in Timișoara, Romania, and comes from a musical family. As the youngest of ten children, he received instrumental lessons at an early age – like all his siblings – in his case on the violin. His studies took him from Romania to Rice University in Houston, where he studied violin as well as conducting. He then deepened his knowledge in Tanglewood and Aspen in masterclasses with David Zinman, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Oliver Knussen and Stefan Asbury. He first appeared in February 2017 at the rostrum of the WDR Symphony Orchestra.
The WDR Sinfonieorchester has long-term associations with the chief conductors Christoph von Dohnányi, Gary Bertini and Semyon Bychkov. Under their guidance, the orchestra developed a specialty in fields such as Gustav Mahler’s symphonies, as well as the performance of works by Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Verdi and Wagner. The orchestra has frequently toured through Europe, America and Asia. From the 2010/11 season, Jukka-Pekka Saraste was engaged as chief conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester. The Finnish maestro put the music of his countryman Jean Sibelius in the limelight and created a Brahms cycle and Beethoven cycle which were hailed for beyond the region. Numerous first performances of commissioned works over the orchestra’s legacy have made contributions to the history of music and to the support of contemporary music. Great composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Krysztof Penderecki performed their works with WDR Symphony Orchestra.