Klaus Mäkelä, Mozart and Sibelius

Klaus Mäkelä will soon be conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra once again. On 23, 24 and 25 November he will perform Mozart’s Requiem and Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony. Our future chief conductor explains this intriguing juxtaposition of masterpieces.
Klaus Mäkelä - image: Marco Borrgreve
Klaus Mäkelä - image: Marco Borrgreve


The concert opens with Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony, a work full of trouble and darkness. For Mäkelä, this is the Sibelius symphony he reaches for on days when he “feels very melancholy and very Finnish” (Qobuz, April 2022). After the interval the Orchestra performs Mozart’s universally beloved Requiem. In Preludium Klaus Mäkelä talks about what the combination of these two works means to him.

“I love visual art, and I view programming as creating an exhibition, where you have all the possible masterpieces in the world in your collection and you get to choose what you’re going to put on display. Now we have at our disposal all of those musical masterpieces, and this Orchestra: a real powerhouse that can play just about anything. So you want to carefully consider the different combinations that can be made.

Suffering and redemption

“Mozart’s Requiem is extremely difficult to combine with anything. That’s why I was looking for something that would contrast with it, and at the same time have a comparable personal quality. Because the Requiem, even though Mozart did not complete it himself, communicates a very intimate personal message.

“There are not many pieces that can get close to that, but Sibelius’s Fourth is one of them. That does make the programme a bit darker, because it is a symphony about suffering. It’s about someone who faces a series of adversities, and in the end fails to overcome. All of the moments of hope – which are certainly also present – are crushed. But then we find redemption in Mozart’s Requiem.”

Read the full interview with Klaus Mäkelä in Preludium

Mozart and Sibelius - 23, 24 and 25 November

More concerts with Klaus Mäkelä