Cristian Măcelaru appointed music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

A 1998 graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Măcelaru has served as the inaugural Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2019.

A professional photo of a conductor

Grammy Award-winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru (IAA 97-99, IAC 98) has been appointed the new music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the ensemble announced today.

Măcelaru succeeds the ensemble’s 13th music director, Louis Langrée, who will depart at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season after ten years at the orchestra’s helm. Măcelaru will begin his four-year tenure in the 2025-26 concert season and become music director designate in September.

A 1998 graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Măcelaru returned to northern Michigan in 2019 as the inaugural Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp. He is currently scheduled to conduct the orchestra and guest violinist Ray Chen in a July 7 program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Op. 35; Vivian Fung’s “Earworms”; and Manuel de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 2.

“Cristi’s palpable joy for music-making and high standards for artistic excellence consistently bring out the best in the musicians under his baton: I cannot imagine a better leader for an ensemble so close to my heart,” said Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey, who served as the president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2017. “I am thrilled for the Cincinnati community to experience Cristi’s extraordinary musical vision, which we have seen firsthand at Interlochen through his exceptional leadership of our orchestral programs. My sincerest congratulations to Cristi on this well-deserved honor.”

“With every major professional achievement, I find myself reflecting back on the places vital in preparing me to succeed,” Măcelaru said. “Interlochen opened my eyes to the possibility of actualizing my potential, and taught me to dream the impossible. This moment—when I become music director of a truly spectacular American institution whose tireless efforts for over a century in not just performing beautiful concerts, but also building a wonderful community—brings me back to the discoveries I made almost 30 years ago when, as a student at Interlochen, I first understood the meaning arts can, and should, have in our societies. The common language of the arts to build a better world together remains my personal philosophy—one that I adopted at Interlochen.”

The winner of the 2014 Solti Conducting Award, Măcelaru currently serves as the Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival and Competition; Music Director of the Orchestre National de France; Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester; and Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. The Timișoara, Romania native has performed regularly at the podium of the finest American orchestras—including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic—and has led ensembles in performances at the BBC Proms, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, and at the foot of the Tour Eiffel in celebration of France’s Bastille Day. Also a gifted violinist, Măcelaru was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Miami Symphony and played in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons.