Reviews  |  

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“The orchestra played with a transparency that let the harmonies really sound in the uneasy stillness of the second movement’s start (Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1), and later there was such unity in the violas that it truly gave the sensation of a single person playing. Mäkelä guided with exquisite care a moment that I hadn’t ever taken much notice of, a passing, poignant bit of pastoral happiness for bassoon, clarinet and flute.”

New York Times, Zachary Woolfe, 5 April 2024

“Mäkelä showed himself to be a master accompanist, instinctively responding to (Sol) Gabetta and building on and supporting everything she was doing. The orchestra stunningly echoed her forlorn aesthetic …”

Chicago Sun Times, Kyle MacMillan, 6 April 2024

“Mäkelä clearly knows how to generate excitement. And this orchestra, despite its astonishing array of instrumental talent, doesn’t just play itself. Its members need encouragement and direction. Mr. Mäkelä obviously has their allegiance. If he didn’t, the electricity that filled Orchestra Hall, in both performance and rehearsal, would be absent.”

Wall Street Journal, David Mermelstein, 5 April 2024

“Mäkelä led a performance of Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony that captured not only the work’s daunting power, its grind and chaos, but also its core digressions into tragic quietude … 

Classical Voice America, Lawrence B. Johnson, 5 April 2024

” … for a symphony easily served as an adrenaline fix, Mäkelä gave the impression, as he had in last year’s Mahler, that he kept an eye trained on Shostakovich’s bigger picture … The second movement was a feat of controlled ferocity, whirling into a glittering cutoff. In the fourth, a scampering violin entrance didn’t rush, but it threatened to. Where other conductors may beat harder to wrest control, Mäkelä just pointed to the trumpets, reliably playing offbeats: Listen to them, and you won’t rush. And they didn’t.”

Chicago Tribune, Hannah Edgar, 5 April 2024

“With each CSO concert Mäkelä has built on the success of the previous one, and Thursday night’s performance of Shostakovich’s symphony gave local audiences his most impressive achievement to date … The CSO musicians are already playing extremely well for their music director designate. This successful concert indicates that the orchestra made an inspired choice with Klaus Mäkelä as their future leader. Time will tell if this marriage turns out to be effective over the longer haul, but with this week’s performances the Mäkelä-CSO partnership is off to a flying start.”

Chicago Classical Review, Lawrence A. Johnson, 5 April 2024

Sauli Zinovjev: Batteria
Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Soloist: Sol Gabetta