The Oslo Phil extends its new Chief Conductor's contract before he starts

Klaus Mäkela will lead the orchestra for the next seven seasons

Klaus Mäkelä signs on for seven years (photo: Marco Borggreve)
Klaus Mäkelä signs on for seven years (photo: Marco Borggreve)

The Oslo Philharmonic has extended by another four years its contract with its youthful Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Klaus Mäkelä. As they prepare to enter their first season together, with the 24-year-old Mäkelä taking over from Vasily Petrenko, they can now look forward to seven seasons together.

A cellist as well as conductor, Mäkelä studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy with Jorma Panula and the cello with Marko Ylönen, Timo Hanhinen and Hannu Kiiski, As well as his position in Oslo, he is Principal Guest Conductor with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Turku Music Festival and Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

‘For a conductor there is nothing more important than a musical home where one can work extensively and where you feel that you breathe together with the musicians. The paradox of being a musician is that what we enjoy the most is the fact that we can always be better in the next concert and I am very happy to have found an orchestra like the Oslo Philharmonic which shares the same philosophy. Of course in this situation, being able to commit to the orchestra for the next seven years brings us both the opportunity to really grow together and experiment on a great variety of different styles of music,’ commented Mäkelä, after the announcement.

One of their first projects together is a cycle of the seven Sibelius symphonies which, with his characteristic programming flair, Mäkelä is partnering with an eclectic range of music – including Mozart's C minor Mass with Symphonies Nos 6 and 7; a new work by Mette Henriette, extracts from Monteverdi's Orfeo and a Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto with Symphony No 2; Bartók's Second Rhapsody and Ravel's Tzigane (with soloist Daniel Lozakovich) with Symphony No 1; music by Saint-Saens, Penderecki and Mussorgsky with Symphony No 4. In September he'll be joined by the pianist of Gramophone's Recording of the Year 2019, Bertrand Chamayou, and the ondes Martenot player Cynthia Miller for Messaien's Turangalîla-symphonie and he'll end the season by taking up his cello for a programme that includes the string sextet that opens Richard Strauss's Capriccio as well as Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht.

'In these current times of uncertainty it is great to be able to make a new announcement about the future, ' said the orchestra's CEO Ingrid Røynesdal. 'The relationship between the Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä is already very special and by extending our contract with him from an initial three years to seven, it allows us to make plans for a substantial collaboration over time. We look forward to embarking on what I know will be an extraordinary musical journey as soon as concert life can resume to normal.'

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