Growing up in a family of ten children all musicians prepares to face the life of a melodious collective. “Teamwork runs through my veins! “, smiles Cristian Macelaru, new musical director of the Orchester national de France, where he succeeds Emmanuel Krivine since the 2020-2021 season. “I cannot imagine music other than in terms of exchanges, connections and collusion, between artists and with the public. “
If he was able to give his back-to-school concert, last September, in front of an audience which compensated for its small number by the heat of its applause, the conductor must now conduct in an empty auditorium, “But, thanks to the microphones of France Musique, I know that we are addressing many music lovers, whose listening carries us”, assures Cristian Macelaru.
Born March 15, 1980 in Timisoara, Romania, the musician began by studying the violin until he held the position of solo at the Miami Symphony Orchestra in the United States. Swapping the bow for the baton, he met the instrumentalists of the “National” for the first time in 2018. “We had works from the XXe century and I immediately appreciated the concentration and curiosity of the musicians, recalls Cristian Macelaru. Our complicity has notably crystallized around the upsetting Adagio of the Tenth Symphony by Gustav Mahler. The adventure could not end there! “
If the appointment of the Romanian maestro, still little known in France, may have surprised the experts, he himself received it as a gift but also a natural outcome that he now feels. “Forced to grow. The orchestra rightly enjoys a great reputation, it has had at its head first-rate musical directors (including Manuel Rosenthal, Sergiu Celibidache, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur…). I’m sure we’ll figure out how to serve the directory better and better. “ And to choose the metaphor of a good wine, combining the careful choice of grape varieties, the patient work of the winegrower, “The time which reveals the aromas in all their depth”, assures Cristian Macelaru. These sound “aromas” translate, according to him, into great elegance, “A precious refinement that I do not know whether to qualify as typically French but, in any case, which expresses the identity of the orchestra”.
In his quest for an artistic community, the conductor is delighted to include his new functions in the vast Maison de la Radio.. “What a privilege to be able to regularly associate with our concerts an adult choir, a mastery of children, to benefit from a magnificent room in which the spectator is literally immersed in the waves of music”, he enthuses. As for the “second” orchestra of Radio France, the Philharmonic, it sees “World class training”. And if he does not yet consider strictly speaking “Collaboration, except in the context of exceptional events”, he prefers to talk about “Conversation, around the specificities of each of the phalanges, the harmonization of their programs, the concerted invitation of conductors and soloists”.
On the podium, a solid silhouette and evocative gesture, Cristian Macelaru defines himself above all as the guarantor of the composer’s primacy. “My role is then to encourage musicians to give the best of themselves, thus to feel good in the music, individually and collectively. “ The rehearsals constitute the laboratory of interpretation, the key moment for “To find together the essence of the works. A “strong” does not only mean that you have to play hard, it is a psychological state, here joyful, there painful ”. Open to suggestions from instrumentalists, he seeks to ” stay humble. Still young, I work with musicians who often have a practice older than mine, and I know above all that, without the orchestra, a conductor is nothing … “
During his back-to-school concert, Cristian Macelaru made more than one listener discover – and love – the very solar Second Symphony of Camille Saint-Saëns, who died a hundred years ago on December 16, 1921. “We are going to give his five symphonies but also his ballet music and his Requiem “, announces the chef keen on French repertoire. “And count on me to shed light on the cross influences between the music of your country and that of my native Romania!” “, he says greedily.