"The young maestro conducted the Eroica Symphony with a straightforward, single-minded approach reflecting clarity, a keen musical intelligence and concentrated intensity."PRETORIA NEWS (South Africa) 7.5.2010 Paul Boekkooi
Finnish conductor Sasha Mäkilä is gaining recognition as one of the most prominent rising talents of his generation in both the operatic and symphonic fields. He joined the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra as Assistant Conductor under Maestro Franz Welzer-Möst in September 2010 after completing a three-year tenure at Orchestre National de France as Maestro Kurt Masur's assistant.
Maestro Mäkilä's guest conducting schedule takes him across Finland, where he regularly conducts the country’s leading orchestras, as well as Russia, the UK and other European countries, South Africa, and the US. In 2012 he will make his South American debut conducting the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra in Caracas.
Sasha Mäkilä appeared with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2010 drawing critical acclaim from the Pretoria News which wrote of his appearance: ''Mäkilä demonstrated his expertise in whipping up excitement'', his Beethoven Leonore Overture ''interpretation was brimful of life’’, and also that ''The young maestro conducted the Eroica Symphony with a straightforward, single-minded approach reflecting clarity, a keen musical intelligence and concentrated intensity.''
May 2010 also saw Sasha Mäkilä conduct the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland for the orchestra’s first ever live webcast performance which was watched by 4000 people in 19 countries (Finland, Sweden, USA, Japan, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Norway, Russia, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, South-Africa, Peru, Slovenia, Portugal, Hungary), and which led to an immediate re-engagement to conduct a cycle of three symphonies by Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja in 2012, also to be webcast.
Sasha Mäkilä was invited to work with Tonhalle Orchestra in Switzerland in March 2010, where he assisted Maestro David Zinman in presenting the 1926 silent film Der Rosenkavalier with Richard Strauss' original score to an enthusiastic audience in Zürich. Mäkilä has also worked intensively with Orchestre National de France and has cooperated with Maestro Kurt Masur during two complete cycles of Beethoven symphonies, in Paris and during the 2008 Beethovenfest Bonn (Germany) - the first time a foreign orchestra was invited to perform the symphonies at the festival.
Sasha Mäkilä made his operatic debut in 2004 with Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor in Helsinki, after having worked in productions of Britten's Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. He has also conducted the Finnish premieres of Les Enfants Terribles and In The Penal Colony by American composer Philip Glass - both staged by the Helsinki Skaala Opera (Finland’s premier contemporary opera company).
In February 2009 Mäkilä conducted the world premiere of the opera The Lovers of Mankind at the acclaimed Music Nova Festival in Helsinki (Finland). In 2011 he assisted Maestro Franz Welser-Möst in a Zürich Opera production of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Severance Hall, and in 2012 will assist similarly in a production of Richard Strauss' Salome, which The Cleveland Orchestra will present as part of their Carnegie Hall residency.
Originally a cellist, Sasha Mäkila studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy (Finland) and at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia). He was nominated a Conducting Fellow at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen (2009) and he was also a prize winner at the Sixth Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition (USA, 2006) as well as finalist in the Suwon International Conductors Competition (South Korea, 2005).