After many years, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will have a new conductor: Klaus Makela – only 26 years old – will be its main conductor from 2027. Until then, the Finn will retain the position of “Artistic Partner”. news hour Makela has already spoken in Hamburg about his upcoming date.
McKella leads more major orchestras, is a much sought-after young conductor and was previously a guest on the Gebau Concert Orchestra. The world of classical music escapes with it. CEO Dominic Winterling: “It’s very difficult to find someone of this caliber. Rarely does a talent like McKella come through.”
The appointment has been eagerly awaited – at home and abroad – for a long time. The orchestra was without an artistic director for four years after the last conductor, Daniel Gatti, had to leave in 2018 due to the MeToo affair.
Makela invites a new unique orchestra. “When I first sang with them in 2020, it was a special moment for me,” he says. “Their voice is so special, sensitive and layered. It has a warmth that no other orchestra has.”
Together with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Concertgebouw Orchestra belongs to the 3 best orchestras in the world. “It’s a pretty big name that I grew up with as a musician,” Makela says.
But since he is also the principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the French Orchestra of Paris, the building in which he first became an “artistic partner” was chosen. “Now we’ll build a relationship with him first and put on great concerts,” says Winterling. “He’ll be both a romantic and contemporary musician. In 2027 he’ll then be our new conductor.”
In the world of classical music, the designation is a huge transition.
Klaus Makela: Age doesn’t matter
Makila is the eighth in a row in the orchestra’s 130-year history. Musicians intensively intervened in his appointment. “It is a tradition that the members of the orchestra choose the conductor themselves,” says trombone soloist Jürgen van Rijn. As Chairman of the Technical Committee, he organized exploratory discussions with 121 members of the orchestra. “This candidate came out with an overwhelming majority.”
From the outset, the collaboration with Makela impressed the orchestra, immediately during his debut ceremony in 2020. Van Rijn: “You would expect a talented young conductor who might be a bit nervous, he was only 24 years old at the time. But he stood quietly., And a procedure began, and after half an hour we all knew: This is the best talent! ”
“He has a natural power over matter and parties,” says van Rijn. “He is demanding and knows exactly what he wants, but in a fun way. He makes everyone do what he asks for.”
Wherever he is, every orchestra asks him to return. “He’s had great hits with all the major bands,” Winterling says. “And there are still great beginnings to come.”
The fact that his young age is often mentioned is not a problem for Makela. “The great thing about music is that age or gender doesn’t matter. It’s about who you are and what you do.” He also expects a good match with the Dutch national team. “Because, like the Finns, they are very honest.”
The Concertgebouw Orchestra has a strong tradition of long-standing collaborations with conductors, including Willem Mengelberg, Bernard Haitink and Riccardo Chailly, from an early stage in their careers.
“Infuriatingly humble travel fanatic. Passionate social media practitioner. Amateur writer. Wannabe problem solver. General food specialist.”