Cristian Măcelaru

Associate Conductor 

Cristian Măcelaru has established an exciting and highly regarded presence through his thoughtful interpretations, poise, and energetic conviction on the podium. Associate conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, he began his tenure at that ensemble as assistant conductor in September 2011; in recognition of his artistic contributions to the Orchestra, his title was elevated to associate conductor in November 2012. He was recently named to the position of conductor-in-residence, beginning with the 2014-15 season. In addition to assisting Yannick Nézet-Séguin and leading several non-subscription performances, Mr. Măcelaru conducted his own subscription week in the 2013-14 season, after having stepped in unexpectedly to make his Orchestra subscription debut in April 2013 in place of Jaap van Zweden. Of the substitution, the Chestnut Hill Local said: “[Măcelaru] led a stunning performance of ‘Death and Transfiguration’ and a charming reading of the Suite from the opera ‘Der Rosenkavalier’. … And the Philadelphians sounded fabulous.”

Mr. Măcelaru recently made two overwhelmingly successful appearances with the Chicago Symphony on subscription programs two seasons in a row as a replacement for Pierre Boulez. The first was in February 2012 and the subsequent was in March 2013, with the Chicago Sun-Times exclaiming: “Macelaru is the real thing, displaying confidence without arrogance and offering expressiveness without excess demonstration.”

In addition to a subscription week in Philadelphia, Mr. Măcelaru’s 2013-14 season includes a subscription debut with the National Symphony and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, a return to the Chicago Symphony, and appearances with the Florida Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic, and the Alabama and San Antonio symphonies. He also returns to his home country to lead the National Radio Orchestra of Romania in performances of Mozart’s Requiem. 

Mr. Măcelaru’s 2012-13 season began with his Carnegie Hall conducting debut and a return to Chicago’s Orchestra Hall in October, both at the invitation of the Solti Foundation, leading a work on the Solti World Orchestra for Peace program shared alongside Valery Gergiev in celebration of the centennial of Solti’s birth. The season continued with debuts at the Atlanta Symphony, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Florida Orchestra, and the Alabama Symphony, plus returns to the Baltimore and Chicago symphonies. His 2013 summer appearances included the Houston and Baltimore symphonies and multiple performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Bravo! Vail festival, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Mann Center, including a special Van Cliburn tribute program. Highlights of previous seasons included engagements with the Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh, and San Diego symphonies; the Civic Orchestra of Chicago; the Banatul Philharmonic; DaCamera of Houston; the Syzygy Ensemble; the Oberlin Orchestra; and at the Sarasota Music Festival. 

Mr. Măcelaru made his professional debut conducting Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera in November 2010, after collaborating with Patrick Summers on the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick as assistant conductor of Dallas Opera. With a passion for diverse repertoire, Mr. Măcelaru led the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in the US premiere of Colin Matthews’s Turning Point in 2010 as part of the Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival.

As the founder and artistic director of the Crisalis Music Project, Mr. Măcelaru spearheaded a program in which young musicians perform in a variety of settings, side-by-side with established, renowned artists. Their groundbreaking first season produced and presented concerts featuring chamber ensembles, a chamber orchestra, a tango operetta, and collaborations with dancer Susana Collins, which resulted in a choreographed performance of Vivaldi/Piazzolla’s Eight Seasons.

An accomplished violinist from an early age, Mr. Măcelaru was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Miami Symphony and made his Carnegie Hall debut with that orchestra at age 19. He also played in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons. Formerly he held the position of resident conductor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he was music director of the Campanile Orchestra, assistant conductor to Larry Rachleff, and conductor for the Opera Department. A proponent of music education, Mr. Măcelaru served as a conductor with the Houston Youth Symphony, where he also conceptualized and created a successful chamber music program.  

Last year Mr. Măcelaru received the 2012 Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award, a prestigious honor only awarded once before in the Foundation’s history, and he was recently named the 2014 Solti Fellow. He has participated in the conducting programs of the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival, studying under David Zinman, Murry Sidlin, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Robert Spano, Oliver Knussen, and Stefan Asbury. Mr. Măcelaru’s main studies were with Mr. Rachleff at Rice University, where he received his Master of Music degree in conducting as well as a master’s in violin performance. He completed undergraduate studies in violin performance at the University of Miami.

Mr. Măcelaru currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Cheryl, and children, Beniamin and Maria.