Newly appointed Chief Conductor Designate of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Cristian Macelaru is one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. He takes on this new position at WDR, one of Europe’s leading orchestras, effective with the 2019/20 season. Music Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Cristian Macelaru launched his inaugural season at Cabrillo in August 2017. Among the 2018 highlights are 3 world premieres, a record-breaking 16 composers-in-residence, a stunning roster of international guest artists, and two special tributes to commemorate William Bolcom’s and John Corigliano’s respective 80th birthdays.
Cristian Macelaru 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 Europe, Macelaru has been in great demand as a guest conductor with many reputable orchestras and festivals, among others the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, National Orchestra of France, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
The first half of the 2018/19 season sees Macelaru continuing to strengthen his European presence with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of France, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, National Norwegian Opera Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Orchestre National de Lyon. During this time he guest-conducts internationally the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit.
The second half of the 2018/19 season gives Maestro Macelaru a taste of his future relationship with WDR Sinfonieorchester, whom he leads in two programs at the Kölner Philharmonie. Additionally, his German profile is amplified by collaborations with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic. In January 2019, he brings the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania on their first-ever tour to the States in commemoration of Romania’s centennial, culminating a 7-city tour at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center in performances with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. On the opera front, he leads a Kasper Holten production of Don Giovanni at the Houston Grand Opera. In Summer 2019, Macelaru makes his debut at the Caramoor Festival and returns to the Grand Park and Interlochen Festivals.
Cristian Macelaru 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 in Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival in masterclasses with David Zinman, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Oliver Knussen and Stefan Asbury.
Macelaru 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.
He resides in Philadelphia with his wife Cheryl and children Beniamin and Maria.