The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announces a new director

Klaus Makela hired today to succeed Riccardo Muti as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and will become the youngest head since its start in 1891.
A Finn who turned 28 in January, Makela had an astonishing rise in the music world, becoming principal guest conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2018-19, then chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic in 2020-21 and music director of the Orchestre de Paris in 2021-22. He is to start a five-year term as chief conductor the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Netherlands in 2027-28 after his contracts in Norway and France expire.
Makela will become CSO music director designate immediately and start a five-year tenure in 2027-28, conducting a minimum 14 weeks per season. Makela will be the youngest U.S. music director with a major orchestra since Gustavo Dudamel was 28 when he started with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009.
“It’s just something which I don’t think about,”Makela said during an interview with The Associated Press. “I was just reminded when I started in Amsterdam that I’m actually not even young, (Willem) Mengelberg was 24 when he started.”
Muti was music director for 13 seasons before stepping down last summer ahead of his 82nd birthday. Makela will be 31 years, seven months, 16 days when he starts on Sept. 1, 2027. The previous youngest head of the orchestra was Frederick Stock at 32 years, 5 months, 1 day when he was hired on April 11, 1905, to succeed founding music director Theodore Thomas.
Makela will take over an orchestra far older than he is. Among 93 members, Muti made 32 appointments and Daniel Barenboim 28, with most of the remainder by Georg Solti. Principal trombone Jay Friedman and harpist Lynne Turner were hired by Fritz Reiner, music director from 1953-62.
He first led the CSO in April 2022 in a program that included Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”