Conductor Susanna Mälkki is sought-after by the world’s leading symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles, and opera houses because of her versatility and broad repertoire. In the 2019–20 season she returns to the New York, London, and Munich philharmonic orchestras; Boston, Chicago, and London symphony orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and Orchestre national de Lyon; she makes debuts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestre philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Recent engagements include the Vienna Symphony and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (as a Wiener Konzerthaus Portrait artist), hr-Sinfonieorchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France.
The 2019–20 season is Ms. Mälkki’s fourth as chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; highlights include premieres by leading national composers Kaija Saariaho and Lotta Wennäkoski, and a new work by Felipe Lara (co-commissioned with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), a tour to Belgium, and the continuation of Bartók Trilogy recordings for BIS Records. In her third season as principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she pays tribute to the late Oliver Knussen, programming his Violin Concerto and co-curating (with Leila Josefowicz) a New Music Group concert centered on his chamber music; she also conducts Holst’s The Planets, Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite, and a new composition by Saariaho. Ms. Mälkki previously served as principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra (2013–17) and music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (2006–13).
A renowned opera conductor, this season Ms. Mälkki makes her Aix en Provence Festival debut, conducting the world premiere of Saariaho’s Innocence, and returns to the Opéra national de Paris. She was the first woman ever to conduct at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, and has appeared at the Vienna Staatsoper, The Metropolitan Opera, Finnish National Opera, and Hamburg Staatsoper.
Susanna Mälkki studied at the Sibelius Academy with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Her conducting studies followed a successful career as a cellist. Her honors include election as a fellow of London’s Royal Academy of Music (2010), membership in the Royal Swedish Academy of Music; Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland (2011), and being made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur (2016). In 2017 she was named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year and was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.