Newly appointed Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival and Competition, GRAMMY® Award winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru is Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
In the 2022/23 season, Măcelaru makes guest appearances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
The 2022/23 season marks Măcelaru’s fourth season as Chief Conductor at the WDR Sinfonieorchester. Their season begins with a Summer Festivals Tour with Artist in Residence Augustin Hadelich. Together they make appearances at the BBC Proms in London, Elphilharmonie in Hamburg, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carl Nielsen Festival in Odense. and the Beethoven Festival in Bonn.
In his third season as Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, Măcelaru leads the orchestra in their first international tour together, with concerts in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, Frankfurt, and Cologne. On this tour they are joined by Artist in Residence Daniil Trifonov and guest artist Xavier de Maistre. In summer 2022, Măcelaru notably led the Orchestre National de France in the Concert De Paris, alongside prominent artists including Nadine Sierra, Alice Sara Ott, Leonidas Kavakos, and Gautier Capuçon, at the foot of the Tour Eiffel in celebration of France’s Bastille Day.
Other highlights from the 2022 summer season include his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at the Tanglewood Music Festival and his third season as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen and sixth season at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the world’s leading festival dedicated to contemporary symphonic repertoire.
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, 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 debut in April 2013, he has been on the podium of this orchestra over 150 times and served there for three seasons as Conductor-in-Residence.
In 2020, Măcelaru received a GRAMMY® Award for conducting the Decca Classics recording of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Cristian Măcelaru was born in Timișoara, Romania and comes from a musical family. As the youngest of ten children, he received instrumental lessons at an early age—like all his siblings—in his case on the violin. His studies took him from Romania to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, University of Miami in Florida, and Rice University in Houston, where he studied conducting with Larry Rachleff. He then deepened his knowledge at Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival in masterclasses with David Zinman, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Oliver Knussen, and Stefan Asbury.
Măcelaru was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and made his Carnegie Hall debut with that orchestra at the age of 19. He also played in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons.