Cristian Măcelaru, one season into his post as Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, has been named the new Music Director of the Orchestre National de France. He succeeds Emmanuel Krivine (who directed the orchestra on Gramophone’s 2019 Recording of the Year, two Saint-Saëns piano concertos with Bertrand Chamayou for Erato). The Romanian conductor takes up the post at the start of the 2021 season and his contract will run initially for four years.
Măcelaru, who played in the first-violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons, was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and made his Carnegie Hall debut with that orchestra at the age of 19. As a conductor he attracted attention in 2012 when he stepped in for Pierre Boulez with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. That same year, he received the ‘Solti Emerging Conductor Award’ for young conductors, followed in 2014 by the ‘Solti Conducting Award’. Since then, he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He made his Proms debut this summer with the BBC SO.
On record, he can be heard accompanying violin concertos by Aaron Jay Kernis and James Newton Howard (for James Ehnes), by Wynton Marsalis (for Nicola Benedetti) and by Prokofiev (for Franziska Pietsch), as well as conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Michael Torke’s Unconquered.
Further building on this already impressive CV, it has also just been announced that Măcelaru has been named the inaugural Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) at Interlochen Arts Camp, in Michigan.