Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“Mäkelä, who is all about the music … played up the excitement Mahler built into the music without adding anything spurious or showy for its own sake. Seldom has one heard a reading of this central work in the Mahlerian canon that felt so organic — moving forward purposefully in a way that closely observed the composer’s detailed markings while always keeping the larger architecture in its sights. You heard everything Mahler meant for you to hear, and nothing he didn’t.”

Classical Voice North America, John von Rhein, 20 February 2023

 “Mäkelä’s Mahler Fifth was one for the memory bank. Broadly speaking, what made the performance so extraordinary came down to two factors: tempo and voicing, which might also be called pulse and clarity .. It’s jaw-dropping marvelous stuff, and Mäkelä spun it all out with crystalline transparency and an unfailing sensibility for the music’s swell and flow.”

Chicago on the Aisle, Lawrence B Johnson, 20 February 2023

“Mäkelä’s star has risen faster than any conductor’s of his generation … Because of that, critics — pleasant lot, we — have mostly fallen into one of two camps, either citing Mäkelä’s preternaturally young age to mythologize a career that needs little mythologizing or wielding it to cudgel at shortcomings both real and perceived … Mäkelä must be assessed on his own merits, not his age. His musicianship demands that respect, at a baseline. I, for one, am grateful to have heard the Mäkelä of today. I’ll be sticking around to see what tomorrow brings.”

Chicago Tribune, Hannah Edgar, 17 February 2023

Jean Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela
Jimmy López Bellido: Aino
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5