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Klaus Mäkelä, future Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, makes debut

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The future music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted his first performance at Symphony Center downtown Thursday night.

Superstar Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä is just 28 years old. He is the youngest head conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since it was founded in 1891.

Mäkelä has served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic in Norway since 2020 and the music director of Orchestre de Paris since 2021. He is also chief conductor-designate of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Mäkelä will begin his duties in Chicago and Amsterdam in 2027.

On Thursday night, Mäkelä led his first concert as Zell Music Director Designate for the CSO. The performance featured the U.S. premiere of composer Sauli Zinovjev's "Batteria," Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto with cellist Sol Gabetta in her CSO debut, and Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony.

The program will be repeated on Friday and Saturday nights. Mäkelä will next appear during two weeks of concerts in April and May of next year.

As music director, Mäkelä will succeed Riccardo Muti, who served in the role from 2010 until 2023. Muti is now music director emeritus for life.

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