An inspiring new chapter awaits.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Klaus Mäkelä

Zell Music Director Designate

Hear him speak about this new artistic partnership

Klaus Mäkelä

The exceptional musical legacy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra continues with the appointment of Klaus Mäkelä as the Orchestra’s 11th music director.

Klaus Mäkelä backstage at Symphony Center

From their very first moments on stage together, there was a connection. The electricity generated between Mäkelä and the CSO captivated audience members in Orchestra Hall. Mäkelä’s deep respect for the score and spirit of collaboration with his fellow musicians sparked dynamic performances full of exuberance and joy in music-making.

Celebrate the start of a new chapter of the CSO’s 133-year history with Klaus Mäkelä as Zell Music Director Designate.

Mäkelä returns to Chicago for two weeks in 2024/25 and will gradually devote longer periods to the CSO in subsequent seasons.

In his role as Zell Music Director, beginning in September 2027, Mäkelä will conduct the Orchestra a minimum of 14 weeks per season — 10 weeks of concerts in Chicago plus four weeks on tour.

CSO Classical

Klaus Mäkelä will return for two programs in the 2024/25 Season


Mäkelä Conducts Mahler 3 (April 24-26, 2025)

Mäkelä & Trifonov (May 1-4, 2025)

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I, for one, am grateful to have heard the Mäkelä of today. I’ll be sticking around to see what tomorrow brings.

Chicago Tribune

The potent chemistry (was) evident between Mäkelä and the musicians, not to mention between Mäkelä and the audience, on both occasions.

Classical Voice North America

Dazzlingly sophisticated … an altogether thrilling performance.

The CSO’s music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.

Klaus Mäkelä records exclusively for Decca Classics.

Photography by Todd Rosenberg and Franziska Strauss

Read the press release »