“Here was something truly special: a conductor who revelled in freshly imagining each sound.”(The Times, 2021)
Chief Conductor & Artistic Advisor: Oslo Philharmonic
Music Director: Orchestre de Paris
Artistic Partner: Concertgebouw Orchestra (from season 2022/23)
Klaus Mäkelä is Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of Orchestre de Paris and, since Autumn 2022, Artistic Partner of the Concertgebouworkest. An exclusive Decca Classics Artist, he has recorded the complete Sibelius Symphony cycle with the Oslo Philharmonic as his first project for the label.
Mäkelä’s third season as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic features eleven contrasting programmes, with repertoire ranging from Jean Baptiste Lully and Pietro Locatelli to Alban Berg and Mahler to Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Julia Perry. In Autumn 2022, Mäkelä and Oslo Philharmonic embark on their second European tour with performances in Germany, Belgium and Austria with soloist Sol Gabetta.
For his second season as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, Klaus Mäkelä has chosen to spotlight composers Pascal Dusapin, Betsy Jolas, Jimmy López Bellido, Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho, the latter featured with three different works. There is also a focus on the Ballets Russes, with two key Diaghilev scores: Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Rite of Spring. In Spring 2023, Mäkelä and Orchestre de Paris tour throughout Europe with Janine Jansen as soloist.
With the Concertgebouworkest Klaus Mäkelä embarks on a long-term collaboration, joining the orchestra as Artistic Partner with effect from the 2022 – 23 season and as its next Chief Conductor in 2027. For their first season together, they perform six programmes including Mahler Symphony No.6, the Mozart Requiem and Strauss Alpine Symphony as well premieres by López Bellido, Sauli Zinovjev, Alexander Raskatov and Sally Beamish. On tour, they performed the opening concert of the Musikfest Berlin and at the Kölner Philharmonie.
As a guest conductor in the 2022/23 season, Klaus Mäkelä makes his first appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester and Wiener Symphoniker and returns to the USA to conduct The Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Mäkelä studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy with Jorma Panula and cello with Marko Ylönen, Timo Hanhinen and Hannu Kiiski. As a soloist, he has performed with several Finnish orchestras and as a chamber musician at the Verbier Festival, as well as with members of the Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
HarrisonParrott represents Klaus Mäkelä for worldwide general management.
“Here was something truly special: a conductor who revelled in freshly imagining each sound.”
“Klaus Mäkelä is known for the delicate precision with which he extracts all the details and nuances of the works he directs. There really were enough of them in Zinoviev’s concerto and he built a stunning, sparkling and crackling overall shape.”
“The lonely atmosphere of the empty hall fitted to Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony. Mäkelä seemed to conjure up the themes of the symphony as if out of some obscurity and silence … The whole symphony was a dark play of mysterious metamorphoses. Thanks to Mäkelä’s skilful directing, the often fragmentary course of the symphony seemed fatally inevitable.”
“Sauli Zinoviev’s piano concerto should have been premiered almost two years ago, just after the pandemic struck and it would have been unsustainable to postpone the premiere once again. Although of course it would have been festive with an enthusiastically applauding audience after the euphoric finale … Ólafsson mastered to perfection all of Zinoviev’s stylistic excursions, from the introductory figurations and the second movement’s impressionistically churning chords to the final’s neoclassical rhythm, where the solo part towards the end unashamedly gives in to a Liszt-Rachmaninov virtuosity. All done with the same equally playful ease and deep-rooted concentration.”
“Mäkelä and HKO maintained the tension (in Mahler Symphony No.1). The bridles remained in the hand. This was characteristic of the whole interpretation: the mastery of the large phrases, the lightning-fast changes in the characters within them, natural as if breathing … the fourth movement was magical. The energy intensified, and there was nothing more to wish for.”
“It was a visionary powerful and unusually talented young conductor’s passionate view of the young Mahler’s skyrocketing visions and it can not be helped that the great Mahler conductor Leonard Bernstein – unequivocally the young version – unwittingly came to mind. The magical evocative natural moods of the introduction, the earthy loins of the second movement and the popular music pastiches of the third movement flowed past like stimulating fantasy images, and when nature and man converged in the passionate finale, the pieces of the puzzle fell spectacularly into place.”
“The conductor-orchestra couple has taken flight, in the magnificent creation of Unsuk Chin’s very virtuoso Spira, and in Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, which takes the time to unfold freely towards the climax. The suppleness of the conducting, the warm opulence of the sound, the continuity of the phrasing, all blossom in the sound space of the Philharmonie.”
“Klaus Mäkelä, who succeeded Daniel Harding as Music Director, also showed great affinity with Mahler … The conductor likes to emphasise sounds that are voluntarily rustic or rocky, as if he wanted his Mahler to be as un-metaphysical as possible, with both feet firmly planted in the Bohemian soil. The generous use of rubato requires the musicians to concentrate at all times … allowing for formidable accelerations, and making the finale an absolutely jubilant and justly acclaimed triumphal march.”
“Rarely have we seen the musicians of the Orchestre de Paris so completely at one with their conductor, embracing his reading of a work with such enthusiasm.”
“The Finnish conductor has already made a strong impression. We will have to break the habit of talking about Klaus Mäkelä as a “young conductor”. He already has everything of a big one and assumes his musical choices with a rare maturity.”
“… He impresses with his precision, flexible gestures, exceptional mastery of the musical dialogue, rhythm, tempo, space, colour. The voices are clearly differentiated, the lines airy, the harmony luxuriant. He knows how to allow the orchestra to breathe by letting loose of the straps.”
“… Impressive is the maturity of Mäkelä, a conductor with clear ideas and gentle manners, elegant and restrained gestures, but at the same time clear and eloquent, who avoids brusqueness and prominence on the podium. For him, music and musicians come first.”
“… there they were: big crescendos, shimmering brass, sonorous strings, expressiveness, the differing characters of each movement (of Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3). The young Finn … relied entirely on chamber music transparency and achieved a wonderful homogeneity with a fine economy of body language. “
“The Cleveland Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7 was stunning, with TCO and Mäkelä completely on the same wavelength. … The members of The Cleveland Orchestra themselves gave Mäkelä the ultimate, and rare, accolade of putting down their instruments to applaud the young visiting conductor. Mäkelä in tandem with The Cleveland Orchestra were simply sensational.”
“Makela himself had a fairly high bar to reach on the second half of the program, conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, a beloved and well-known work about which almost every aficionado has an opinion. Consider that bar reached.”
“But the star of the show was Mozart’s Requiem […] and given an urgent, sharply defined account by Mäkelä and his vocal and instrumental forces. … a thoroughly convincing account, fresh and forthright.”
“Mäkelä knew exactly how to build from slow and sinister, brooding and ponderous into a veritable firecracker of a finale, crashing cymbals and timpani utilised to magnificent effect.”
“The granite-like climaxes of the second movement, interspersed with atmospheric silences, were extremely powerful and at the end of the journey Mäkelä created an irresistible surge, finally unleashing all the pent-up energy from the preceding movements.”
“A high level of performance, led by Klaus Mäkelä, glowed with colour… Young Mäkelä delivered a masterpiece as an opera conductor”
“Oulu Symphony Orchestra seemed obviously liberated by the Mäkelä’s energy, particularly in Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 op. 92 in which the jubilation could be sensed throughout the whole hall.“
“Our country’s music education system has produced a number of internationally successful conductors. The latest addition is 20-year-old Klaus Mäkelä. With a bright talent and determination he captured the audience of the Kymi Sinfonietta concert. His bold movements encouraged the Orchestra to play with real feeling.”
“Mäkelä conducted gloriously – self confident and powerful, but at the same time graceful and controlled.”
“The young Klaus Mäkelä is a great conducting talent. His debut with Tapiola Sinfonietta showed that in front of the orchestra he has a natural authority. His musical abilities are so strong that it’s easy for him to gain the trust of the musicians. In Tchaikovsky’s Mozartiana and Arensky’s Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, he demonstrated his fine sense of phrasing, sound, rhythm and nuance.”
“Klaus Mäkelä is an extraordinary talent, who will go far. He manages to channel his musical expression in a constructive way.”
“You can already now say that Klaus Mäkela is a true conductor”