Pass the baton: conductors on the move

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has appointed Cristian Măcelaru as its new Music Director to succeed Louis Langrée. Măcelaru, who made his debut with the orchestral in 2016, will commence his five-year tenure at the start of the 2024-25 season. In the first year of his term, he will serve as Music Director Designate. Alongside this position, Măcelaru will continue his roles as Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival and Competition, and Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, where he will serve until the end of the 2024-25 season, continuing as Artistic Partner for the following season. 

Kazuki Yamada has been given the new title of Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), reflecting his deep relationship with the orchestra and increasing involvement in creative decision-making and programming. During the 2024-25 season, Yamada will lead 22 concerts, including a performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in December to mark the composer’s 200th birthday. Alongside his CBSO role, Yamada is also Artistic and Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (OPMC).

Martijn Dendievel has been appointed as Chief Conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra (Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen); he will assume the role in January 2026. Dendievel, who became the orchestra’s Associate Conductor in 2022, is seen as the ideal successor to current Chief Conductor Kristiina Poska. Jos Roeden, the orchestra’s General Director, sees “great potential for future growth at the local and national level under Martijn Dendievel’s direction. It is a strong story for the audience in Flanders to have a young man from their own region, who’s creating genuine international excitement, back with ‘their’ Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen.”

The Hallé has announced that Kahchun Wong will take over from Sir Mark Elder as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor; Elder becomes Conductor Emeritus. Wong, who made an “electrifying debut” with the orchestra last spring, follows in the footsteps of artistic trailblazers Hans Richter, Hamilton Harty, Sir John Barbirolli and Elder. The Hallé’s Chief Executive David Butcher is looking forward to Kahchun’s appointment and for the “growing audiences to witness the rapport and alchemy which promises so many great performances ahead.’

Conductor and oboist Francois Leleux has been announced as the Artistic Director of Kammerakademie Potsdam for the 2025-26 season. The exuberant musician, who takes over from current Artistic Director Antonello Manacorda, sees his new post with the German orchestra as a “joy and a fascinating challenge… It will be an important and exciting time in my life as an artist. A feast for the ears.”

The Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie has appointed Jonathan Bloxham as its next Chief Conductor from this September. The British conductor, whose busy season includes conducting a televised concert in the the Salzburg Grosses Festspielhaus involving Philharmonic Brass (members of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras), and his last two performances of the acclaimed new production in Luzern of La bohème, will continue with his existing positions as Music Director of the Luzerner Theater and Resident Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the London Mozart Players.   

Roderick Cox (above) has been announced as Music Director of Opéra Orchestre National de Montpellier Occitanie and will begin his tenure in September. Cox, who was the subject of the award winning 2020 documentary film Conducting Life, returns to the Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra this summer before embarking on a busy 2024-25 season, which includes returns to the Philadelphia Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra, and engagements with the Finnish National Opera Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He will succeed Michael Schønwandt, who was Principal Conductor from 2015 to 2023. 

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has appointed Patrick Hahn as its Principal Guest Conductor from the 2024-25 season. Hahn first performed with the orchestra in 2022 when he stepped in at the last minute for an indisposed conductor. Since then, RSNO Chief Executive Alistair Mackie has been “inundated with requests from our musicians to invite him back”. Hahn is currently General Music Director of Sinfonieorchester und Oper Wuppertal and Principal Guest Conductor of Münchner Rundfunkorchester.

Andrew Manze has been announced as Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Manze, who will assume this position alongside his current role as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, has signed an initial three-year contract, starting at the beginning of the 2024-25 season.

Photo: Roderick Cox © Susie Knoll