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Klaus Mäkelä

Conductor Klaus Mäkelä emerged rapidly in the late 2010s and early 2020s to become one of the most prominent figures on the musical scene in Scandinavia and beyond. In 2022, at the age of just 26, he was named artistic partner and future chief conductor of the prestigious Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mäkelä was born in Helsinki on January 17, 1996. His family was musical: his father, Sami Mäkelä, was a violinist, and his mother, Taru Myöhänen-Mäkela, a pianist. At 12, as a singer in the chorus of the Finnish National Opera, Mäkelä became interested in conducting. Mäkelä studied both conducting and cello at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. His conducting teacher there was Jorma Panula, and he took cello courses with Hannu Kiiski, Timo Hanhinen, and Marko Ylönen. For a time, as Mäkelä made concerto appearances with top regional orchestras around Finland, such as the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, and the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, it seemed as though he might choose a career path as a cellist. He performed on cello in chamber groups and appeared at several leading Finnish music festivals. He then made a guest-conducting appearance with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in September of 2017. After that single appearance, Mäkelä was hired as the orchestra's principal guest conductor, beginning with the 2018-2019 season. He was the youngest individual ever to hold a post with a conductor title in that organization. The pattern repeated itself when Mäkelä guest conducted the Oslo Philharmonic, and he was appointed chief conductor for a term beginning in 2020. His contract was extended by four years before he had even assumed his post. His meteoric rise reached another stage after he made a guest appearance with the Orchestre de Paris in June of 2019; a year later, the orchestra named him music director, beginning in 2022. Mäkelä also became the artistic director of Finland's Turku Music Festival in 2018. He has served as Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta. In addition to these regular posts, Mäkelä has made guest appearances with a variety of world-class ensembles; planned for the 2020-2021 season were guest slots with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as several others. In 2022, the year he released his debut album -- a complete set of the Sibelius symphonies -- he was named artistic partner of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, with a five-year term as chief conductor set to begin in 2027.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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