This Autumn Klaus Mäkelä began his first season as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris and his second season as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. In Paris he started his tenure one year early, having had the chance to spend more time with the orchestra as a result of the pandemic. “Incredible, the path taken since his first concert in July 2020!” wrote Le Figaro. “His Beethoven’s 7th was full of promise, but still timid, as if in an observation phase, then his closed-door concerts of last season revealed a very mature conductor. This time, everything seems to have opened up. 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.”
His first season in Oslo also allowed Klaus Mäkelä to spend more time with the musicians than originally planned, but it was only with the second season that the doors of the Konserthus were finally opened. After a year of empty seats “the joy of reunion was great”. Klassekampen asked “I wonder if the excitement is due to poor memory, that I am not used to hearing an orchestra ring in a large hall. But no, I’m convinced that the generous sound is something that happens between chief conductor Klaus Mäkelä and his orchestra. It is as if the strings can play with a full arc even when the dynamics are at their lowest, and thus the sound becomes rounded. The colour palette for the withdrawn shades is wide, so that the musicians can play dramatically, but still make room to let the soloists appear clearly above the orchestra.”
In addition to spending as much time as possible with his two ‘home orchestras’ Klaus Mäkelä returned to Munich in October to conduct the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in a programme featuring Bartok’s Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 2, Martinů’s Suite Concertante for Violin and Orchestra and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. This month he also joined the Royal Concertgebouworkest on tour to Reykjavik and Hamburg performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6 and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique and will make his his UK capital debut with the London Philharmonic on 24 November in a programme of Messiaen, Saint-Saëns and Debussy.
In December he is back in Oslo for a performance at the new Munch Museum with a programme featuring works by Jean-Féry Rebel, Sally Beamish, Unsuk Chin and Beethoven. As Norway’s Scenekunst wrote following the season opening concert “Klaus Mäkelä is seriously embarking on an eventful season as Chief Conductor. There is a lot to look forward to and already this first concert testified to an artistic leadership that thinks new and thoroughly about programming.”