Cristian Macelaru leading the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music on August 4, 2017 (Photo credit: RR Jones)
Cristian Macelaru made a magnificent debut in his inaugural concerts as new Music Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Festival where he led two concerts on August 4 and 5, 2017! The programs featured world premieres by Michael Gandolfi, Clarice Assad and David T. Little, a Westcoast premiere by James Stephenson, and performances of works by Aaron Jay Kernis, Cindy McTee and Gabriela Lena Frank.
In a review of the opening concerts, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle raved: “Macelaru and the orchestra delivered two nights of fiery, tender and technically excellent music-making. Whatever the diverse merits of the works on offer, the level of passion and precision achieved on a tight rehearsal schedule was remarkable.”
Barbara Rose Shuler of Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote: “Cristian Macelaru made an impressive entrance last weekend as the new maestro of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. After full immersion in the first weekend of Cabrillo’s talks, discussions, and the brilliant, complex and technically superb music making, it seems evident that Macelaru is an ideal match for this important festival. Watching Cristi at the podium last weekend, there can be no doubt that he is a consummate master of this realm, a daredevil maybe, but one who knows exactly how fast to take the hairpin curves, when to ease the pace and reengage full throttle. It’s an exhilarating ride and returns you to your seat in one piece, probably changed a little from the journey. He chooses pieces to tell a story, placing individual compositions in precise sequences so they ‘talk to each other’ and further a musical narrative. At the podium, he is physically fully engaged as if no separation exists between himself and the music he brings forth. He leads this stellar and courageous orchestra with nuance, precision, vigor and spirit. Macelaru does have a huge heart full of fire. When you are in the concert hall with him you feel it. Tickets are still available. Don’t miss the next chapters.”
Joe Sekon of Peninsula Reviews exclaimed: “The opening concert of this new era under Maestro Cristi Macelaru was IMPRESSIVE!”
Lisa Hirsch of the San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “He’ll be a worthy and musical successor to Marin Alsop.”
Scott MacClelland of Performing Arts Monterey Bay said: “The orchestra, with Măcelaru in command, showed off its quicksilver response to his direction in both phrasing and dynamics, in warmth and in coolness. A tumultuous standing ovation, long held for composer, soloist and orchestra alike, went on for at least ten minutes.”