Finnish conductor Sasha Mäkilä is gaining recognition as one of the most prominent rising talents of his generation in both operatic and symphonic fields. Since 2017 Sasha Mäkilä has been Artistic Director of the Helsinki Metropolitan Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Krasnoyarsk Symphony Orchestra. In Mäkilä’s previous post as Music Director of St Michel Strings, he lifted the orchestra from near oblivion to national fame, taking them on international tours and music festivals and inviting world-class soloists as well as introducing concert webcasts.
Sasha Mäkilä’s conducting career has taken him to four continents and to major ensembles, such as the Cleveland Orchestra and the Mariinsky Theatre. He has performed at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Gergiev Festival in Mikkeli, Pyeongchang Music Festival (South Korea) and Nargenfestival (Estonia) and regularly collaborates with soloists such as Vadim Repin, Kyung-Wha Chung and Jian Wang. Mäkilä has conducted the world premieres of Free Will (2012, Savonlinna Opera Festival), Lovers of Mankind (2009, Musica Nova Helsinki), as well as Finnish premieres of Philip Glass’s chamber operas In the Penal Colony and Les Enfants Terribles.
Originally a cellist, Sasha Mäkilä studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy (Finland) and at the St Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia). After completing a three-year tenure at the Orchestre National de France as Kurt Masur’s assistant, he was nominated a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. Mäkilä is a prizewinner at the Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition (USA, 2006), and in 2013 the University of Helsinki presented him with the Pacius Award for his contributions to Finnish musical life.