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

A conductor of intelligence and vision, Susanna Mälkki is sought-after at the highest level with symphony orchestras, in opera houses and with contemporary music ensembles. As she enters her fifth season as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and fourth season as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she continues to challenge audiences with a fresh and impressively broad approach to programming.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has only slightly curtailed a busy calendar as preparations continued over the summer, 2020 for her postponed debut at the “Festival d’Aix en Provence”, where she will conduct the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s new opera Innocence in July, 2021 with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Susanna Mälkki’s autumn 2020 season as Chief Conductor with the Helsinki Philharmonic will have experimentation and expanded collaborations as hallmarks of the adapted performance schedule, serving her community with more socially distanced performances and media collaborations.  Additionally, she will guest conduct with the Montréal Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as begin preparations for a new production of Die Walküre at the Finnish National Opera which premieres in January 2021.

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).

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.