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Winner of the 2014 Solti Conducting Award, Cristian Măcelaru has established himself as one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. With every concert he displays an exciting and highly regarded presence, thoughtful interpretations, and energetic conviction on the podium. Conductor-in-residence of The Philadelphia Orchestra, he began his tenure with that ensemble as assistant conductor in September 2011, and in recognition of his artistic contributions to the Orchestra, his title was elevated to associate conductor in November 2012. In addition to supporting Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in important artistic projects, Mr. Măcelaru will conduct a subscription week each season, as well as educational and community programs, and lead the ensemble in summer performances in Philadelphia and other venues. He made his Orchestra subscription debut in April 2013 stepping in unexpectedly 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 2014-15 season includes his official Carnegie Hall debut, with the Danish National Symphony. Replacing the orchestra’s chief conductor, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Mr. Măcelaru will have the honor of conducting the Danish National Symphony in Denmark and on a German and U.S. tour in January and February 2015. Mr. Măcelaru also returns on subscription to Chicago and has subscription debuts with the Toronto, Baltimore, Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis symphonies in North America; the U.K.’s Hallé Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony; and the Hague's Residentie Orkest in the Netherlands.
Mr. Măcelaru’s 2013-14 season included a subscription week in Philadelphia, a subscription debut with the National Symphony and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, a European debut stepping in at the last minute with the Gothenburg Symphony, a return to the Chicago Symphony, and appearances with the Florida Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic, and the Alabama and San Antonio symphonies. He also returned to his home country to lead the National Radio Orchestra of Romania in performances of Mozart’s Requiem.
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.
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.
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.
Mr. Măcelaru received the 2012 Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award, a prestigious honor only awarded once before in the Foundation’s history. 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.
Photo Credit: Matthew Evearitt