Breaking: France names next national conductor

Breaking: France names next national conductor


norman lebrecht

November 12, 2019

Early this morning Sibyle Veil, President of Radio France, named the next conductor of the Orchestre National de France, successor to Emmanuel Krivine who has been there since 2017.

The new chef, arriving in 2021, will be the 39 year-old Romanian Cristian Măcelaru, who has been enjoying a rapid rise as stand-in for some celebrated conductors.

Măcelaru is presently music director of the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne and of the Cabrillo contemporary music festival.

UPDATE: Le Figaro calls it a surprise appointment. Past chiefs have been Gatti, Masur and Dutoit.


  • David says:

    Congratulations to him and Radio France Orchestra, he is a fine conductor, who hates show and fakes – a truly musician. Also a kind human being.

  • porumbescu says:

    Congratulations to Cristian Macularu, perhaps the finest Romanian baton since Cristian Mandeal.

    • Ruben Greenberg says:

      looking greatly forward to having him here in Paris. Maybe we’ll finally hear some music by Enesco, if we’re lucky. The last Romanian conductor of the Orchestre National de France was none other than Celibidache. Every concert was an event to remember as long as one lived.

  • kundry says:

    Anyone would be better than Krivine. His conducting technique is at best weird, his interpretations are at best quirky. Macelaru beats time correctly, goes straightforwardly through any work ( conducts everything and has mastered none), never bothered anyone with a personal musical idea – he does not say much in rehearsals , which is how nowadays orchestras like it and has learned how to look like he is everyone’s friend. He is the right type of conductor for these politically correct times. ONF has become a very mediocre orchestra – there is a laughable Tannhauser on Youtube , with Krivine, which is out of tune and has little to do with Wagner. Macelaru also has a most prized quality – he can raise “boring” to a new level of musical aesthetic, if one can endure such a thing. Bayerische Rundfunk and Concertgebouw are soon to follow There is a sense of desperation in the air among the major orchestras, as far as replacing the older, retired , dead , or banned conductors. Good luck!

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    A short reign for Krivine. Why so short?

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Although it’s only been one full season now (I believe), Macelaru is well liked as successor to Marin Alsop for the Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz. I wish him all the best with the ONdF.

  • Karl says:

    Cristian Măcelaru just conducted in Montreal. I thought he was a possible future music director there.

  • fflambeau says:

    Măcelaru is very talented. Hats off to him and congratulations.

  • Barry says:

    Of the many Assistant Conductors in Philadelphia since the days of William Smith, Macelaru has had the most success. He still returns to guest conduct a program or two every season.