Mälkki, music director of Ensemble InterContemporain, managed to not only pull off each work on this demanding program with striking success but sparked the CSO to some of their finest playing of the year.

Chicago Classical Review

With powerful, richly eloquent, and immaculately balanced performances, Mälkki’s sensational debut is easily the most impressive CSO podium bow of recent seasons.

As impressive as Mälkki’s direction was in the first half, the thrilling performance of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra after intermission was finer still. The 42-year-old Finn is a charismatic and dynamic podium presence, leading sans baton with her expressive hands and animated body language, not for self-regarding podium gymnastics but to draw out the music with full force and fervor.”

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