Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Cristian Măcelaru is one of the fast-rising conductors in classical music. His tenure with the WDR, one of Europe’s leading radio orchestras, commenced in the 2019/20 season. In the 2020/2021 season, he took up the position of Music Director of the Orchestre National de France in Paris. Măcelaru is also Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; the world’s leading festival dedicated to contemporary symphonic repertoire. In summer 2020, he commenced his first season as Inaugural Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In January 2020, Măcelaru received his first GRAMMY® Award for conducting the Decca Classics recording of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Cristian Măcelaru attracted international attention for the first time in 2012 when took over concerts from Pierre Boulez with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since then, he has performed regularly with top American orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony and National Symphony Orchestra. He enjoys a close association with the Philadelphia Orchestra; since his debut in April 2013 he has conducted them in over 150 performances having served three seasons as Conductor-in-Residence.
In Europe, Măcelaru is in great demand as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
Cristian Măcelaru was born in Timișoara, Romania and comes from a musical family. As the youngest of ten children, he received violin lessons at an early age. 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.
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.