31 March 2021, London – Decca Classics announces the latest addition to its artist roster, Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä, the label’s first conductor signing in 40 years. Mäkelä becomes the first conductor to sign to the historic label since Riccardo Chailly made his debut in 1978.

Mäkelä’s recording debut will be the complete Sibelius Symphony cycle with the Oslo Philharmonic, including the symphonic poem Tapiola and the fragments of the 8th Symphony, long thought to have been destroyed by the composer. As Chief Conductor since August 2020, Mäkelä chose Sibelius’ music as the main theme of his first season in Oslo. This is music that has long been associated with the Oslo Philharmonic and exactly 100 years ago today Sibelius conducted the orchestra himself in a programme that included the First Symphony. 

Mäkelä says, “I am really happy and honoured to join Decca Classics. Decca is the record label I have admired above all others, not only for its great roster of artists and catalogue of legendary performances, but also for its unique sound and attention to quality. In the coming seasons, I look forward to recording with both the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris and to choosing repertoire that suits the musical identity and sound of each orchestra and their halls.”

Dominic Fyfe, Decca Classics’ Label Director, adds, “Klaus is a born conductor. His charisma and natural authority are winning the respect of the world’s greatest orchestras, from Cleveland to the Concertgebouw, in addition to his twin appointments in Oslo and Paris. Klaus is also a born recording artist and in his hands the classic ‘Decca Sound’ has found a future champion. Decca has always signed conductors with remarkable longevity – from Solti to Chailly – and with Klaus we look forward to a long, fruitful and fascinating journey ahead.“

From his first encounter with the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris, it was clear that the musicians felt an immediate trust and connection with Mäkelä, swiftly resulting in both appointments. Now well into his first season as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, Mäkelä commences as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris in September 2022, and is Artistic Advisor of both orchestras.

Mäkelä’s debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra also resulted in immediate re-invitations. “Klaus Mäkelä’s performance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra proved that in this confusing world there are also ’naturally’ striking debuts taking place. The young Finn conducted as if he had never done anything else… What an immense talent this is! “ (Trouw).

In addition to his close partnerships with the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris, Mäkelä is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Artist in Association with Tapiola Sinfonietta, and Artistic Director of the Turku Music Festival. Mäkelä studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy with Jorma Panula and cello with Marko Ylönen, Timo Hanhinen and Hannu Kiiski.

Further details relating to Mäkelä’s debut recording on Decca Classics will be released soon.