The Board of Directors of the Turku Music Festival Foundation has unanimously chosen conductor Klaus Mäkelä to be the new artistic director of the Turku Music Festival. He will be invited to plan the programme for the festival’s 60th anniversary in 2019. The current artistic director of the festival, Ville Matvejeff, is leaving after this summer to take up the post of artistic director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
“I am happy to have this opportunity to be the artistic director of the Turku Music Festival. When I was asked whether I would be interested, it immediately seemed like a good fit at this point in my career. It is my first artistic director’s post, and I have a strong personal connection to Turku. The Turku Music Festival has a robust tradition, and next year’s 60th anniversary will be a very special occasion,” says Klaus Mäkelä. “As a conductor, I work in various places in Finland and abroad. Artistic planning is about germinating ideas and meeting performers. I can do that anywhere, and the ways in which things are done are different in every place. I will be in Turku during the festival in August and will visit a few times a year as needed, but I will be supported by the managing director and the festival office, and I believe our collaboration will be fruitful.”
”I have been following Klaus’ career for some time now and I am very impressed by what he has already achieved. He is one of the most talented and most interesting young artists I know and he’s known to be efficient and productive. When the thought of working together came to my mind, it all fell into place very naturally. The timing was simply perfect for both parties. It feels great and inspiring to have the chance to build the Turku Music Festival into an even more interesting festival with an even higher level. I could not be happer and Klaus has the chance to bring out his artistic ideas through the more than 30 annual concerts we have in the framework of the festival. We’ll immediately have the chance to start working on the solid foundation we’ve built with the former artistic directors”, says the festival’s Managing Director Liisa Ketomäki.
“Klaus Mäkelä is one of Finland’s most interesting young conductors today. He is also an excellent cellist, as we know from the Turku Cello Competition in 2014. This will be his first opportunity to show what he can do as the artistic director of an international festival where concerts range from solo recitals to concert performances of operas”, says Maija Palonheimo, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Turku Music Festival Foundation.
Turku Music Festival artistic director designate, conductor and cellist Klaus Mäkelä (b. 1996) has made a substantial impact on the Finnish music scene in a short period of time. The 2017/18 season will see him make significant debuts across Europe, Scandinavia, the United States, Canada and Japan. From the 2018/19 season, Mäkelä will be Principal Guest Conductor with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Artist in Association with Tapiola Sinfonietta.
This season Mäkelä debuts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Kristiansand Symfoniorkester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He will also return to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Oulu Symphony Orchestra.
Also working in opera, Mäkelä will make his debut in December 2017 with performances of The Magic Flute with the Finnish National Opera. Mäkelä has already conducted many Finnish orchestras and now appears regularly with Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tampere and Turku Philharmonics, Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.
At the Sibelius Academy, he studied conducting with Jorma Panula and cello with Marko Ylönen, Timo Hanhinen and Hannu Kiiski. As soloist, he has performed with Finnish orchestras such as the Lahti Symphony, Kuopio Symphony and Jyväskylä Sinfonia as well as appearing at many Finnish festivals including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Naantali Music Festival, and Chamber Music Summer Festival in Helsinki.
Klaus Mäkelä plays a Giovanni Grancino cello from 1698, kindly made available to him by the OP Art Foundation.