In 2027, Klaus Mäkelä, 28, will lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Part-2)    

Mäkelä performed Mahler's Fifth Symphony in February 2023. Alexander then bargained. Mäkelä announced it before her CSO performances this week, including Shostakovich's 10th Symphony. “When you see Klaus conduct, you can just feel the connection between him and the orchestra, and then between him and the audience,” Alexander added.

Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra all had podium openings at the same time as Mäkelä's hire. Mäkelä will fundraise as a U.S. orchestra music director.

“I don’t think it will actually be so drastically different from the work in Amsterdam and in Paris,” he remarked. “In Oslo, 100% of the funding is state-funded and zero is private, but in Amsterdam, it's 50-50. There's a lot of work to be done, but it's also in my interest because we can achieve things together if we find the right partnerships.”

His parents taught piano and cello, therefore Mäkelä played cello as a child. He attended concerts by Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu in Helsinki and selected his career path when he was 7 while singing in the Finnish National Opera's children's chorus in Bizet's "Carmen." He was captivated by the conductor on a backstage monitor.

Mäkelä remarked, “It sounds like a silly story, but it's really true — from that moment.

At the Sibelius Academy, he studied conducting with Jorma Panula, who taught Esa-Pekka Salonen and Susanna Mälkki. He conducted after joining the Helsinki Philharmonic as a cellist at 15. After conducting the Oslo Philharmonic in May 2018, he made several debuts. His Berlin Philharmonic debut was in April 2023, and his Vienna Philharmonic debut is in December. Rare in 21st-century classical music, Decca Classics signed him as an exclusive recording artist in 2021.

Mäkelä has little time for opera, where one-to-two-month stays are typical, due to symphonic activity. He live in Helsinki but hadn't been there this year until late March. Mäkelä spends most of his time between Paris and Oslo, making score delivery time-consuming.

I have FedEx, DHL, and UPS all the time, and I always forget the score». “I want my own scores because I write.” He is considering his first Chicago programs. “It needs to be a very clear start, a clear new chapter,” he remarked. This must be anything but comfort zone, thus the music must keep me and the orchestra on our toes.

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