Timisoara, Romania

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Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester
Music Director Designate of Orchestre National de France (starting with 2021)

Newly appointed Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Music Director Designate of Orchestre National de France, Cristian Măcelaru is one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. He takes on the new positions at WDR and ONF — Europe’s leading radio orchestras — effective with the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons respectfully.

Măcelaru is the Music Director and Conductor of the internationally renowned Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. In August 2019, he led his third season in premiere-filled programs of new works by an esteemed group of composers. Among the 2019 season’s highlights are 12 composers-in-residence including Wynton Marsalis and a record-breaking 9 women, a roster of international guest artists including mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and violinist Nicola Benedetti, the World Premiere of an orchestral tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg entitled When There Are Nine, a new cello concerto by Anna Clyne, and Tan Dun’s stunning symphonic documentary for harp and orchestra, Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women.

Cristian Măcelaru attracted international attention for the first time in 2012, when he stepped into the breach with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, deputizing for Pierre Boulez. In the same year, he received the “Solti Emerging Conductor Award” for young conductors, a prestigious honor only awarded once before in the Foundation’s history, followed in 2014 by the “Solti Conducting Award”. Since then, he has performed regularly at the podium of the best American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra. A particularly close collaboration connects him with the Philadelphia Orchestra: Since his subscription debut in 2013, he has been on the podium of this orchestra over 100 times and served there for three seasons as Conductor-in-Residence. Prior to that, he was their Associate Conductor for two seasons and previously Assistant Conductor for one season from September 2011. He continues a close relationship with the orchestra in leading them on annual subscription programs and other special concerts.

Cristian Măcelaru made his Carnegie Hall debut in February 2015 on a program with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Anne-Sophie Mutter. A keen opera conductor, in June 2015 he led the Cincinnati Opera in highly acclaimed performances of Il Trovatore. In 2010, he made his operatic debut with the Houston Grand Opera in Madama Butterfly and led the U.S. premiere of Colin Matthews’s Turning Point with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as part of the Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival. In 2019, he returns to the Houston Grand Opera on a Kasper Holten production of Don Giovanni.

In Europe, Măcelaru has been in great demand as a guest conductor with many well-known orchestras and festivals, among others the Bayerischen Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Hallé Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.