Clément Mao – Takacs


"Clément Mao – Takacs is a young conductor with a daringly original vision, and who defends the rare repertoires from yesterday and today alike, always curating intelligent programmes"

Les Échos

"Clément Mao – Takacs excels in conducting La Passion de Simone which reveals his expert knowledge and mastery of Saariaho’s music"


"The Webern Passacaglia is perfectly conducted, without hurry but with intensity and impressive mastery, by Clément Mao – Takacs"

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Artistic Director Secession Orchestra

Clément Mao – Takacs is one of the rising stars of the new generation of conductors.

He graduated from the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and the Accademia Chigiana in Sienna, and was awarded the Prix "Jeune Talent" by the Fondation del Duca.

As a guest conductor he has been invited to give concerts by Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Odense Symphony, Orchestre des Pays de La Loire, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Festival Orchestra of Sofia, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra Finland, and Bit 20 Bergen.

In 2011 he founded Secession Orchestra, of which he is both Artistic and Musical Director, whose repertoire encompasses music from Mahler and Debussy through rarely performed scores to contemporary music. They give over 50 concerts each year including residencies at venues such as the Musée du Louvre and Festival Saint Denis.

As a specialist of Kaija Saariaho’s music, he has conducted the world premiere and several national premieres of the chamber version of her opera La Passion de Simone, including performances in Bratislava, Saint-Denis, Lublin, Clermont-Ferrand, Copenhagen, Bergen and Nantes. He gave the world premiere of the chamber version of Quatre Instants and the Danish premiere of the concerto Notes on Light, and in 2019 released a disc of her works for violin and orchestra on BIS Records with the Oslo Philharmonic and soloist Peter Herresthal.

Clément Mao - Takacs’s recordings include Stockhausen’s Adieu for Crystal Classics, a disc of Jacques Ibert’s music for Timpani (awarded ‘5 diapasons’ by DIAPASON magazine). His upcoming releases include music by Debussy, Zemlinsky and Saariaho.

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Saariaho: Circle Maps, Graal Théâtre and other works

BIS Records

Performances could scarcely be bettered...Clément Mao – Takacs making more of those emotional contrasts in Circle Map than Susanna Mälkki. The Oslo Philharmonic evince all the clarity and fastidiousness this compelling music requires.”

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

Neiges (1998) is heard as a rich version of 12 cellos - in the alternative, original version, there is a third less, eight. Cellists from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra fully interpret Saariaho's snow study. Conducted by Clément Mao-Takacs, the full orchestra plays magnificently in other works.

Helsingin Sanomat *****

'La nature est un temple' - Debussy

Festival de Royaumont, September 2018

The orchestration by C. Mao-Takacs of 'L’Île Joyeuse' gave us a genuinely interesting tour of this piece, so rich in colours written for the piano, and on the contrary, the reduced version of 'La Mer' lost nothing of the power of its content and of its troubled, changing radiance. To be appreciated is the fine, precise direction of the conductor, equally as much as the injected energy, on par with that of larger symphonic forces.

Classique News

With a refreshing, rich and sometimes whimsical approach when the score calls for it, (L’Île Joyeuse), Clément Mao-Takacs supports his orchestra with a conscious and considerate investment... The ensemble radiates with distinct voices. La Mer, arranged by the conductor himself, provides a sensitive interpretation that is full of charm, mystery and a bubbling tension, all sharpened by his acute understanding of the score (...) In the orchestrations, the sound lends itself to the game of metamorphosis in a new variety of colours and timbres, and daring translations (...) and meanwhile to take stock of the arrangements, La Mer, originally written for over 120 musicinas, still resonates with reduced forces without however losing in body or in richness of sound.


Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire - Kaija Saariaho

Nantes, October 2018

Kaija Saariaho's music explores this progressive agony of Simone Weil through some of the most astonishing sounds that a classical orchestra can possibly make: the crushing and squeaking of brass, violent attacks of drums, a percussive timekeeping of factory machines and thousands of shadowy nuances. The Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire plays admirably under the baton of Clément Mao-Takacs, who conducts with the graceful gestures of a ballet dancer.


Stavanger Symphony Orchestra - Saariaho/Wagner

September 2018

The programme of the Saariaho/Wagner concert in Stavanger has an inevitable impact on the concert experience as a whole. The transitions between Wagner and Saariaho, where the pieces were played attacca, without delay, give a dramatic countdown... The concert ends with the Tannhäuser Overture. Mao-Takacs does not fight to lure emotions out of the music - he instead makes us believe that they come easily from the music, retaining and using tremendously paced tempo variations and clarity in the playing to create intensity. (...) The tension is shaped both by the natural power of the opening, but at the same time as the rounding off of the entire concert. The orchestra shines with super-disciplined playing, and the ending makes tears flow. We are reminded that we have never heard such a concert program before as this, nor have we ever experienced the Tannhäuser Overture so redemptive. We feel the deep co-understanding between conductor and orchestra.

Praise for Clément Mao-Takacs

Clément Mao-Takacs delivered an outstanding Mahler ‘Symphony No. 1’. From the very first bars, he manages to create an air of mystery which catches the audience’s attention. The young conductor guides the musical narrative with an impressive control of tension and release, cleverly teasing out the instrumental colours, from the beginning of the symphony to the triumphant coda

Les Échos

Clément Mao-Takacs is a young conductor with a daringly original vision, and who defends the rare repertoires from yesterday and today alike, always curating intelligent programmes

Les Échos

Clément Mao-Takacs excels in conducting La Passion de Simone which reveals his expert knowledge and mastery of Saariaho’s music


Clément Mao-Takacs finds the right balance between dramaturgy, romantic lyrism and subtle irony, using the whole pallet of orchestral colours at his disposal. He pays attention to every detail, highlighting all the nuances of this complex score, without ever sacrificing the grandeur or architecture of the work. Few young conductors are to able to offer this kind of mastery and synthesis

La Revue du spectacle

Clément Mao-Takacs has the remarkable ability to draw a large orchestral sound from the 14 musicians playing Saariaho’s score (Quatre Instants)


The Webern Passacaglia is perfectly conducted, without hurry but with intensity and impressive mastery, by Clément Mao-Takacs

Conductor Clément Mao-Takacs is able to follow the incessant changes of atmosphere, without fragmenting the Mahlerian discourse, passing with ease from an elegiac episode to a dance-like one, from passion to despair. The last movement was perfectly conducted, without excessive pathos, until the radiant final bars​​

In all the four scores by Vincze, Motsh, Koskinen, Saariaho, one notices the qualities of the orchestra, crafted with extraordinary precision by Clément Mao-Takacs ​

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