Cristian Măcelaru is extending his contract as principal conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra by an additional three years. The WDR administrative board noted and approved the extension on Friday 26 June. This means that this rising star among the conductors of the next generation will head the WDR's top orchestra at least up until 31 July 2025.
During his initial contract as principal conductor with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cristian Măcelaru has established an international reputation as a top-flight conductor. "Right at his inaugural concert in September 2019, he conquered the hearts of the public with his expressiveness. Admired by both the media and professional music critics, Cristian Măcelaru has been a driver of innovation for our orchestra, while at the same time a professional communicator who also knows how to play the keyboard of the internet," says WDR programme director Valerie Weber. "With his personality and an unusually broad repertoire that ranges from Bach right up to contemporary music, he has made such a convincing impression in his first year that we would like to keep him for longer in North Rhine Westphalia and at our orchestra."
Forty-year-old Cristian Măcelaru is looking forward with anticipation to the approaching season, as global concert and cultural life are confronted with new challenges in the time corona. The Romanian-born conductor is keenly interested in integrating symphonic music into the digital media – from concert livestreaming to musical introductions by video. "Being on stage with the superb musicians of the WSO is always stimulating, while simultaneously being a meaningful discovery of the most diverse musical opportunities," he says. "I am very pleased that we will continue to be able to create many moments of beauty for our faithful audience, to give new life to timeless musical masterpieces and to continue the artistic partnerships that have made the WDR Symphony Orchestra one of the best orchestras in Germany and the world as a whole."
Cristian Măcelaru has gained a reputation with major orchestras in the United States and across Europe, directing the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra among others. He has a particularly close relationship with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he has occupied the podium at more than 150 concerts. He has also received invitations from Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig's Gewandhausorchester, the Orchestre National de France and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He worked with the WDR Symphony Orchestra for the first time in February 2017. Cristian Măcelaru's engagement as Music Director for the renowned Orchestre National de France from the 2021/22 season underlines his artistic relevance. At the end of 2019 he received a prestigious Grammy Award for his recording on CD of Wynton Marsalis's violin concerto.
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