Biography

The absolute integrity of her music-making, her clear, unmannered command, her knack for clarifying the densest orchestral textures, for inspiring players to give something extra, showed in pairings of standard symphonic works by Beethoven and her compatriot Jean Sibelius.

Chicago Tribune

Susanna Mälkki is sought-after at the highest level with symphony orchestras, in opera houses and with contemporary music ensembles. Currently in her fifth season as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, she continues to challenge audiences with a fresh and impressively broad approach to programming. Plans continue, too, for her return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she is Principal Guest Conductor.

Susanna Mälkki’s 2020/21 season with the Helsinki Philharmonic has experimentation and expanded collaborations as hallmarks of the adapted performance schedule, serving her community with more socially distanced performances and media collaborations. Additionally this season, she guest conducts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. She will debut at the “Festival d’Aix en Provence” in July 2021, where she will conduct the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s new opera Innocence, with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Previous major operatic appearances include the Opéra national de Paris, conducting Boesmans’ Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne (2020), Dvořák’s Rusalka (2019) and the world premiere of Francesconi’s Trompe-la-Mort (2017). In 2018 she debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper in Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod and December 2016 marked her debut at The Metropolitan Opera for its premiere of Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin (directed by Robert Lepage). Following this success, she will return to the Metropolitan Opera in 2022 for Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

The Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki led the New York Philharmonic in a performance of the work that was so urgent, detailed and exciting that I forgot all about cresting sea and splashing waves. I was, instead, engrossed by the way Ms. Malkki brought out the colors, intricacies and radicalism of “La Mer”

New York Times

Equally in demand as a symphonic guest conductor, she appears regularly with top orchestras throughout Europe and North America; The Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia, the Boston Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, the Münchner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker and Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Recognised for her significant contribution to the art form, Mälkki was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2010, she was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland – one of Finland’s highest honours – in 2011, the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in 2014 and in January 2016 was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in France. In October 2016 she was named Musical America’s 2017 Conductor of the Year, and in November 2017 she was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.

2020/21 season only.