The Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä takes up the reins in Paris at the start of the 2022-23 season, adding this Orchestre de Paris appointment to his forthcoming role as Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Oslo Philharmonic, a position that has recently already been extended by four years, taking it to a total of seven seasons. He is also Principal Guest Conductor with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Turku Music Festival and Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.
Mäkelä's appointment in France comes at the end of a lengthy process that started when Daniel Harding decided to step down after only three seasons at the helm of the Orchestre de Paris. He left the role in 2019. When the Orchestre de Paris moved into its new home at the Philharmonie de Paris, the search process was briefly suspended. A number of conductors were considered – Christian Merlin writing in Le Figaro suggests that Pablo Heras-Casado, François-Xavier Roth, Tugan Sokhiev and Karina Canelakis were all at one time in the frame – but Mäkelä, 24, won over the orchestra in a single concert.
'I have long admired the Orchestre de Paris as a great orchestra' Klaus Mäkelä said, 'and the experience of first performing with its wonderful musicians was both intense and fulfilling. That sense of immediate trust and connection meant that I did not hesitate in accepting the invitation to be the orchestra’s next Music Director. I feel immensely lucky to have found such a strong connection with the musicians of both the Orchestre de Paris and the Oslo Philharmonic, with whom I will commence my first season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor this August.'
Mäkelä's next appearance with his new ensemble takes place on July 9 when he conducts the Orchestre de Paris for the Philharmonie’s first public concert since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a programme featuring Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and Beethoven’s Symphony No 7.
Mäkelä's appointment sees another Finnish conductor at the helm of a major orchestra alongside compatriots that include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sakari Oramo, Osmo Vänskä, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Susanna Mälkki, Hannu Lintu, John Storgårds and Mikko Franck.