Klaus' ambitions

Appointing Klaus Mäkelä as the future chief conductor symbolises the dawn of a new era for the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The young man from Finland instantly fell in love with the orchestra’s sound and is honoured to contribute to its preservation, development and enrichment.

Klaus' ambitions
Klaus Mäkelä (photo: Eduardus Lee)


‘You only have to hear the Concertgebouw Orchestra once to admire its sound forever. It is one of the rare orchestras in the world with an individually recognisable sound. The orchestra sounds warm and transparent at the same time. Mind-blowing when I heard it for the first time.

I have grown very accustomed to the sound as I listened to all the recordings, I listen to all of them, from Mengelberg to the present day. But when you’re standing in front of the orchestra, and that sound surrounds you...This needs to be preserved and cherished. I am fascinated by shaping and changing her, trying out different colours and layers. How far can you go when sculpting her? And most of all, which direction do you take? This is what I’ll be discovering in the coming years 

I want all members of the orchestra to shine. I am proud that the orchestra wants to enter this new era with me.

Joint course

We have a ten-year contract, which is ideal. I won’t be the chief conductor for the coming five years, but I will be artistic partner. The number of joint productions increases; there will be five this season and twelve in 2027. We can grow within this relationship and gradually build something together. It gives us the mental freedom to develop a joint course without time pressure. We can try different repertoire, go on tour, and we’ll know each other well by the time I start as chief. I want all members of the orchestra to shine. I am proud that the orchestra wants to enter this new era with me.


I love visual arts, and programming is like creating an exposition whereby you choose which masterpieces of your collection you would like to put on display. We have access to all those musical masterpieces and to this orchestra as well: she’s a beast and can play pretty much anything. This makes you want to think carefully about all the possible combinations. I also feel a great responsibility to conduct new music. And I find a good relationship between composers and conductors of great importance. Take a look at Mahler and Mengelberg!’