Cleveland Orchestra assistant conductor Sasha Mäkilä appointed Music Director of St. Michel Strings chamber orchestra in Finland

Finnish conductor Sasha Mäkilä has been appointed Music Director of St. Michel Strings chamber orchestra in Mikkeli, Finland, effective immediately. The news was announced last week by orchestra’s new General Manager Nikke Isomöttönen at the press conference held in Mikaeli Concert Center, the home venue of St. Michel Strings.

“I am very pleased to announce that Maestro Mäkilä will take over the artistic leadership of St. Michel Strings,” said Mr. Isomöttönen. “He comes with wealth of international experience with top orchestras and top artists, and will put that experience to work in developing our orchestra further. We are very excited to have him here.”

“For the past ten years I have been mainly conducting outside of Finland, and I remember St. Michel Strings as one of the first Finnish orchestras to re-engage me with when I was still relatively unknown in my home country. I am extremely delighted to accept this opportunity to work as Music Director of St. Michel Strings and to be able to spend so much more time in Finland,” Maestro Sasha Mäkilä responded.

Maestro Mäkilä’s previous posts include an assistantship with Maestro Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France in 2007-2010, and with the Cleveland Orchestra from 2010 until present. He has an active guest conducting schedule that takes him across Finland where he regularly conducts the country’s leading orchestras, as well as to Russia, the UK, other European countries and to North and South America and South Africa. This season included debuts with the orchestras of Norrköping (Sweden) and Tampere (Finland) and the Savonlinna Opera Festival (Finland).

Sasha Mäkila holds degrees in conducting from the Sibelius Academy in Finland and the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia.  He was a conducting fellow in Aspen at the American Academy of Conducting (2009) and 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).

St Michel Strings, founded in 1903, is the third oldest orchestra in Finland and widely known for its adventurous programming. It makes its home in the acoustically superb Martti Talvela Hall which seats 700 people.

Mikkeli, a city of 50 000 inhabitants, is the capital of the Province of Eastern Finland and it is situated by the Lake Saimaa. It is the home of two annual international music festivals – Gergiev Festival in July and Ballet Mikkeli in October.


Nikke Isomöttönen
General Manager, St. Michel Strings
Tel. +358 50 581 3377


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