Cristian Măcelaru was recently appointed Chief Conductor Designate of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2019-20 season. He is currently Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Past season highlights include three world premieres, a record-breaking sixteen composers-in-residence, a stunning roster of international guest artists, and two special tributes commemorating William Bolcom’s and John Corigliano’s respective eightieth birthdays. He makes his San Francisco Symphony debut at these performances.
Mr. 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 at the Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival in masterclasses with David Zinman, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Oliver Knussen, and Stefan Asbury. He was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Miami Symphony and also played in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons.
Mr. Măcelaru first attracted international attention as a conductor in 2012 when he led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in place of Pierre Boulez. In the same year, he received the Solti Emerging Conductor Award for young conductors, followed by the Solti Conducting Award in 2014. He enjoys a close association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with whom he has served as conductor-in-residence and associate conductor.
The 2018-19 season sees Mr. Măcelaru make debuts with the Orchestre National de France, Vienna Radio Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony, and São Paulo Symphony. He returns to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresden Philharmonie, Hallé Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Detroit Symphony. In January 2019, he brings the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania on their first-ever tour to the US in commemoration of Romania’s centennial, culminating in a performance at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln. On the opera front, he leads Don Giovanni at the Houston Grand Opera.
Mr. Măcelaru resides in Philadelphia with his wife Cheryl and children Beniamin and Maria.