The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has announced Klaus Mäkelä as its next music director, the eleventh in the ensemble’s 133-year history. Following a term as Zell Music Director Designate, effective immediately, Mäkelä will begin an initial five-year tenure as Zell Music Director in September 2027. In this role, he will conduct the orchestra a minimum of 14 weeks per season: ten weeks of subscription and other concerts in and around Chicago, plus four weeks of domestic and international tours.

Coinciding with his first season as Music Director in Chicago at the start of the 2027/28 season, Mäkelä inaugurates his first season as Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, following the completion of his current tenures with both the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris.

Klaus Mäkelä said:

“I am honored to have been chosen as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and inspired to embark on this journey with an orchestra that combines such brilliance, power, and passion. I look forward to getting to know the musicians more over the coming years, and am grateful for the time this allows for us to establish and deepen our relationship, in preparation for what is a major and exciting commitment.”

“From 2027/28 my main responsibilities will be my partnerships with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Until then I remain committed to my ongoing collaborations with the Orchestre de Paris and Oslo Philharmonic. I look forward to all the music-making we have planned for the next three seasons and to returning to both institutions on a regular basis after my official tenures are completed.”

As Zell Music Director Designate, Mäkelä is scheduled to lead two weeks of subscription concerts in the 2024/25 season, with featured repertoire including Mahler’s Third Symphony and Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, with CSO Artist-In-Residence Daniil Trifonov as soloist. Mäkelä will gradually devote longer periods to subscription concerts, touring engagements, and other activities in the 2025/26 and 2026/27 seasons. He will make his podium debut at the Ravinia Festival, the CSO’s summer home, in summer 2026.

Read the full press release here