Winner of the 2014 Solti Conducting Award, Cristian Măcelaru is 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.
Mr. Măcelaru came to public attention in February 2012 when he conducted the Chicago Symphony as a replacement for Pierre Boulez in performances met with critical acclaim. Since his debut, he has conducted that orchestra on subscription in three consecutive seasons. The Chicago Sun-Times exclaimed: “Măcelaru is the real thing, displaying confidence without arrogance and offering expressiveness without excess demonstration.”
In August Mr. Măcelaru made his Lincoln Center debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition to a subscription week in Philadelphia, his 2015-16 season includes his New York Philharmonic debut, and returns to the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. Internationally, he makes debuts with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the RTE National Symphony of Dublin, and Tokyo’s Metropolitan Symphony. In North America, his debut appearances include the Atlanta Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony.
Guest conducting highlights of the 2014-15 season included his official Carnegie Hall debut, with the Danish National Symphony and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (he also led those forces on a four-city tour of Germany); subscription concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago, Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Seattle symphonies; and debuts with the U.K.’s Hallé Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony, and the Hague’s Residentie Orkest.
Mr. Măcelaru made his first conducting appearance at Carnegie Hall in 2012, leading a work on a program alongside Valery Gergiev in a Georg Solti Centennial Celebration. In June 2015 he made his Cincinnati Opera debut in performances of Verdi’s Il trovatore. In June 2010 he made his operatic debut with Houston Grand Opera in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and led the US premiere of Colin Matthews’s Turning Point with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as part of the Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival.
In addition to being appointed the 2014 Solti Fellow, Mr. Măcelaru previously 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 Larry Rachleff at Rice University, where he received master’s degrees in conducting and violin performance. He completed undergraduate studies in violin performance at the University of Miami.
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 Mr. 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, sideby-side with established artists. Their groundbreaking inaugural 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 resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Cheryl, and children, Beniamin and Maria.
Photo Credit: Sorin Popa