Newly appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Cristian Măcelaru has established himself as one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. With every concert he displays an exciting and highly regarded presence, thoughtful interpretations and energetic conviction on the podium. Măcelaru came to public attention in February 2012 when he conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a replacement for Pierre Boulez in performances met with critical acclaim. Conductor-in-Residence of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he made his Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut in April 2013 and continues to conduct them annually on subscription programs and other special concerts. In September 2016, he was announced Music Director of Cabrillo Festival, America’s longest running festival dedicated to new music for orchestra, to succeed Marin Alsop with immediate effect. Măcelaru leads his inaugural season as Cabrillo Festival Music Director in August 2017.
The 2016/17 season sees Măcelaru returning to the Philadelphia Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, San Diego, Milwaukee, Colorado, Detroit and Vancouver. Internationally he leads the Bayerischen Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Weimar Staatskapelle, Halle Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist. In Summer 2016, Măcelaru made debuts at Dresden Staatskapelle, Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony, Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wolf Trap Festival with the National Symphony Orchestra and at the Aspen Music Festival. Additionally, he returned to the Mann Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chautauqua Music Festival with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
In the 2015/16 season, Măcelaru led subscription concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra in D.C., as well as with the Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra and New World Symphony. His international guest-conducting appearances brought him to Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Cristian Măcelaru made his Carnegie Hall debut in February 2015 on a program with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Anne-Sophie Mutter. A keen opera conductor, in June 2015 he made his Cincinnati Opera debut in highly acclaimed performances of Il Trovatore. In 2010, he made his operatic debut with the Houston Grand Opera in Madama Butterfly and led the U.S. premiere of Colin Matthews’s Turning Point with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as part of the Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival. In 2019, he returns to the Houston Grand Opera on a Kasper Holten production of Don Giovanni.
Winner of the 2014 Solti Conducting Award, Măcelaru previously received the Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award in 2012, a prestigious honor only awarded once before in the Foundation’s history. He has participated in the conducting programs of the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival, studying under David Zinman, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Oliver Knussen and Stefan Asbury. His main studies were with Larry Rachleff at Rice University, where he received master’s degrees in conducting and violin performance. He completed undergraduate studies in violin performance at the University of Miami. An accomplished violinist from an early age, 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 nineteen. He also played in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony for two seasons.
Măcelaru formerly held the position of Resident Conductor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he was Music Director of the Campanile Orchestra, Assistant Conductor to Larry Rachleff and Conductor for the Opera Department. A proponent of music education, he has served as a conductor with the Houston Youth Symphony, where he also conceptualized and created a successful chamber music program. As Founder and Artistic Director of the Crisalis Music Project, Mr. Măcelaru spearheaded a program in which young musicians perform in a variety of settings, side-by-side with established artists. Their groundbreaking inaugural season produced and presented concerts featuring chamber ensembles, a chamber orchestra, a tango operetta, and collaborations with dancer Susana Collins, which resulted in a choreographed performance of Vivaldi/Piazzolla’s Eight Seasons.
Cristian Măcelaru resides in Philadelphia with his wife Cheryl and children Beniamin and Maria.