Klaus Mäkelä to Lead Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Klaus Mäkelä, a name synonymous with orchestral brilliance, is set to take the baton from Riccardo Muti as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s new Music Director. Starting in 2027, Mäkelä’s appointment heralds a fresh era of musical mastery and innovation.

This Finnish conductor is no stranger to accolades, already waving his wand as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. Let’s dive into the harmonious journey of Mäkelä and what his leadership means for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

A New Baton in Chicago

Imagine stepping into the grandeur of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. There’s a buzz in the air. The reason? Klaus Mäkelä is set to take the helm of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) from the legendary Riccardo Muti. This change isn’t just a passing of the baton; it’s a promise of fresh energy and creativity.

Who is Klaus Mäkelä?

At a glance, Klaus Mäkelä might seem like any other conductor. But, look closer. This 31-year-old maestro brings a unique blend of youthfulness and experience to the podium. With a resume that reads like a musical odyssey, Mäkelä has not only charmed Paris and Oslo but is now set to enchant Chicago and Amsterdam.

Mäkelä’s first appearances with the CSO were nothing short of magical. Jeff Alexander, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, praised Mäkelä for his moving performances and his knack for connecting with everyone—from musicians to music lovers. Mäkelä, humbled by the appointment, is eager to weave a musical tapestry that’s both brilliant and passionate.

Music Across the Miles

Mäkelä’s commitment to the CSO is clear. He’ll be dedicating at least 14 weeks per season to the orchestra. This includes subscription concerts, tours, and more. But that’s not all. Mäkelä will also be juggling his role as Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Talk about a symphonic superhero!

Mäkelä isn’t just about live performances. He’s leaving a digital footprint, too, with his Decca recordings. From the complete Sibelius symphonies to enchanting ballet scores by Stravinsky and Debussy, Mäkelä’s recordings have earned critical acclaim. His approach? It’s all about bringing characters and stories to life through music.

Upcoming Harmonies

Mäkelä’s predecessors have set high bars. From Andris Nelsons to Sir Georg Solti, dual leadership roles are a tradition among maestros. Mäkelä’s dual role with Chicago and Amsterdam places him among the ranks of these orchestral giants. His leadership signifies a bridge between continents, cultures, and musical traditions.

Looking Ahead

As 2027 approaches, the excitement is palpable. Mäkelä’s vision for the CSO and his commitment to musical education promise a vibrant future for the orchestra. His journey from Paris to Chicago is not just about changing locations. It’s about inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers alike.

Klaus Mäkelä’s appointment as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra marks the beginning of a new musical chapter. With his baton, Mäkelä is set to sculpt a future filled with innovation, connection, and unforgettable performances. As we look forward to this harmonious era, one thing is clear: the world of classical music is in for a thrilling ride.


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