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Q&A with Cristian Măcelaru


Fanfare Cincinnati: You will be conducting a program celebrating the Bernstein Centennial—how does this performance and Bernstein's composition influence you as a conductor?

Cristian Măcelaru: I grew up knowing more about Bernstein as a composer, perhaps due to a performance of West Side Story in high school (this was in Romania). But then I discovered him as a conductor and pianist, as well as a passionate educator. Personally, I have always looked up to him as the musician who could do it all. And all at the highest level. It inspires me to know that such a life is possible, as I often navigate between composing, performing, conducting and teaching, myself.


FC: What is your favorite Bernstein piece to conduct? Why?

CM: To me Bernstein wrote in so many different styles that range the entire spectrum. Perhaps his most monumental work, Mass, is the one closest to my heart.


FC: Tell us about your musical background.

CM: I received my undergraduate degree in violin performance at the University of Miami, then moved on to receive a master’s in conducting and violin performance at
Rice University studying under Larry Rachleff. I've participated in conducting programs at Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival, and performed with various orchestras across the globe. All of this has led me to my current position as Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.


FC: Where do you seek inspiration, in music or elsewhere?

CM: Music inspires me. Even when I look for inspiration in music, I still find it while making more music.  It sounds a bit odd, but nothing makes me dream of music more than listening to more music.

—Kayla Moore