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'We need to represent the 21st century': Cristian Măcelaru on this week's 'Les préludes' concert

Cristian Macelaru
Sorin Popa
Conductor Cristian Măcelaru

The Grammy Award-winning conductor talks about leading the ensemble of which he was once the concertmaster and about being just the sixth person in history to take the baton for "Les préludes."

In the fall of 2019, Cristian Măcelaru was named the inaugural Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Interlochen's World Youth Symphony Orchestra.

His first summer in the role was completely different than he was expecting. "I think 2020 went differently than we all could have imagined," he says.

This summer, Măcelaru is finally at the helm of WYSO in person.

IPR's music director Amanda Sewell speaks with Cristian Măcelaru, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen

One of the most important parts of his role, he says, is "finding the right opportunities to experience the widest variety of music that is actually representative of the twenty-first century."

To that end, this summer's three WYSO concerts have included pieces by many living composers.

Măcelaru walked IPR's listeners through the music for this Sunday's WYSO program, which has pieces by living composers Anna Clyne and Huang Ruo.

The program also includes the 1919 "Firebird" suite by Igor Stravinsky as well as Franz Liszt's "Les préludes."

Hear his conversation with Classical IPR above, and tune in Sunday evening to hear him lead WYSO in its final performance of the summer. The broadcast begins at 7 p.m., with the concert downbeat at 7:30.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.