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. Since April 2012 he is Music Director of St. Michel Strings - a chamber orchestra widely known for its adventurous programming. Prior to his appointment he served two years in the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra as Assistant Conductor under Maestro Franz Welzer-Möst, after completing a three-year tenure at Orchestre National de France as Maestro Kurt Masur's assistant. In a short period of time Mr. Mäkilä has made a name for himself as a versatile artist with a broad repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary.
Maestro Mäkilä's guest conducting schedule takes him across Finland where he regularly conducts the country’s leading orchestras, Russia, the UK and other European countries, South Africa and the US. In the field of opera he 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 (2006, Ooppera Skaala) and Les Enfants Terribles (2005, Ooppera Skaala).
Originally a cellist, Sasha Mäkilä 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).
Having a lesson with Sasha was one of the best things I experienced as a conducting student in the RNCM. His approach to conducting technique comes from a synthesis between the best Russian and Finnish conducting schools. His knowledge of traditions in the symphonic repertoire was illuminating for me. He is also a very open minded and extremely nice person to work with." Marco Bellasi, Italy
Studying with Sasha Mäkilä is the best thing I could've done to help my development as a conductor. He has inspired me to think of the different colors of the orchestra, and how I can encourage the musicians, both through interaction and technique, to showcase the music. Sasha Mäkilä makes himself relatable to his students so that he creates an environment of good communication, creativity, and learning." Dorian Neuendorf, USA
I have been taught by Sasha Mäkilä on a number of occasions, and have always really enjoyed his very clear teaching style. He always encourages the best out of his students, whilst giving helpful advice on the many different aspects that make up a successful conductor. Sometimes we will benefit from his strong technical knowledge, and on other occasions we will discuss the ins-and-outs of score preparation and effective ways to communicate with an orchestra. Sasha always gives honest, but inspirational feedback which is very important to take on after the class and to your next rehearsal." Tom Newall, UK