Press quotes

“The young maestro conducted the Eroica Symphony with a straightforward, single-minded approach reflecting clarity, a keen musical intelligence and concentrated intensity.”

The young maestro conducted the Eroica Symphony with a straightforward, single-minded approach reflecting clarity, a keen musical intelligence and concentrated intensity. One realizes this 37-year old conductor will perhaps give us a completely different reading at say 73, but the JPO performed with unanimity, poise, and most importantly, a classical equilibrium (read full review here).

Pretoria News (South Africa)
Paul Boekkooi

 

“Overall, I think this may have been the most impressive CIM Orchestra Concert to date…”

…bursting with energy and with chest-thumping percussion, [The Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich] was immediately gripping. The strings under Mr. Makila’s baton were particularly lovely, and I don’t think anyone could claim that it was played too quietly… Lastly, Brahms Symphony No. 2 — where the music just sung so beautifully and to such an extent that I found myself lost amongst the notes and between movements… Overall, I think this may have been the most impressive CIM Orchestra Concert to date…

Lincoln in Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)

 

“We heard the Prokoviev Symphony on Sunday afternoon… expertly led by assistant conductor Sasha Mäkilä.”

We heard the Prokoviev Symphony on Sunday afternoon, first in fragments — and with selections from other works by the composer — expertly led by assistant conductor Sasha Mäkilä. The program [Beyond The Score], played with artful timing against a documentary video by actors Robert Hawkes (narrator), Brian Pedaci (Prokofiev), Terence Cranendonk and Bernadette Clemens, with John Simmons as Prokofiev at the piano, was devised by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and designed to illuminate the work through original (and visual) source materials before the piece would be played in its entirety after intermission.

Cleveland Classical (Cleveland, OH)
Daniel Hathaway

 

“It was an act of honest, all-out playing, and something special to behold.”

The performances excelled in terms of shaping and emotion… Especially strong was the Finale of the Prokofiev, treated by the young players to a reading not only proficient but distinctly zestful. It was an act of honest, all-out playing, and something special to behold.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
Zacharias Lewis

 

“He garnered their enthusiasm and exuberance with his expressive conducting…”

Saturday evening was also marked with exemplary chamber music, not in terms of the genre, but rather, in the true spirit of effortless collaboration and engaging conversation.  Sasha Mäkilä initiated this theme by demonstrating his rapport with the Kent/Blossom Music participants.  It was inspiring to see and hear the youthful members perform under Mäkilä’s baton, as he led them in the Suite from Kuolema by Sibelius, and Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony.  He garnered their enthusiasm and exuberance with his expressive conducting and it was unmistakable that the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra participants had been immersing themselves in chamber music.

Cleveland Classical (Cleveland, OH)
Alexandra Vago

 

“This evening did not fail expectations, but delighted us with fresh impressions and new emotions.”

[Sasha Mäkilä] conducted the orchestra, holding in his hands the golden threads which linked the rhythmically organized sounds of the [Sibelius] Symphony No. 3 in C Major to each and every bow and string… And by the third movement “Moderato” of the symphony had conquered the hearts of the St. Petersburg public. This evening did not fail expectations, but delighted us with fresh impressions and new emotions.

Videomusic journal (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Anna Poluektova

 

“Under the direction of Sasha Makila, the orchestra elevated the ballad into a poignant tone poem.”

With a fresh arrangement by John Clayton, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” tapped into a bittersweetness that was only hinted at when Fitzgerald used to sing it. Under the direction of Sasha Makila, the orchestra elevated the ballad into a poignant tone poem.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
John Soeder

 

“The whole Pori Sinfonietta performed as one voice.”

A poet’s heart is pulsating in the gestures of conductor Sasha Mäkilä. Strings, clarinets and the timpanist [playing Sibelius’ Scene with Cranes] responded to Mäkilä’s elastic impulses with fine-tuned sensitivity. We entered the pleasant delirium between reality and dreams… The finale [of Beethoven’s 4th symphony] was extremely well rehearsed…. All Mäkilä had to do was just to pick out the best in his musicians. The whole Pori Sinfonietta performed as one voice.

Satakunnan Kansa (Pori, Finland)
Kaija Huida

 

“Hard-working, ambitious, aware of numerous details, perfectly prepared. He indeed made a very good impression…”

[Sasha Mäkilä] …is able to influence musical events in progress. After the opening he gave a number of instructions in a very suggestive manner (e.g. he called the sighing of strings “human voice”, how graphical) and he began to work in a showy, but most of all in an effective way. His movements were graphic as well as broad and determined. Hard-working, ambitious, aware of numerous details, perfectly prepared. He indeed made a very good impression…

8th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors (Poland)
Adam Rozlach

 

“A refined conductor….commanding strong presence.”

[Finnish conductor] Sasha Mäkilä’s first movement of the seventh symphony [by Beethoven] – showed a refined conductor (with very delicate gestures) and commanding strong presence… One notices the dynamism emanating from the whole person, a real authority.

Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition (Luxembourg)
Stéphane Gilbart and Suzanne Faber