As Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki is in demand around the world. We caught up with her ahead of her return to the LSO on 15 April.

London Symphony Orchestra Blog

Rebecca Sharp

You made your debut with the LSO last season with a programme of Brahms and Strauss. What were your experiences of working with the LSO for the first time?

Oh, it’s fantastic. Of course I’d heard so much about the orchestra years ago and had heard them in concerts too, and I was really excited to see, to hear, and to get to make music with them. The kind of enjoyment of the music making which obviously is based on the virtuosity of every single player – it’s a fantastic team of excellent musicians and I had the greatest experience with them.

What are you looking forward to in your performance on 15 April in the Barbican?

I’m very happy to meet the Orchestra again, that’s the first thing to say. But then, doing a Sibelius symphony with any orchestra abroad is also always special, especially in the UK where the Sibelius tradition is very long and maybe stronger than almost any other foreign country except for in Scandinavia. I’m very fond of the Fifth Symphony and I hope that the orchestra will be happy to do it the way I hear it. It’s a piece with which I’ve grown up with, and I have a strong connection to it.

I’m also very happy to meet Daniel Müller-Schott again. We worked together a really long time ago, it must have been at least 15 years ago, and it’s always very nice to get back together with somebody you’ve played with early on. He’s a wonderful player, so I’m very much looking forward to that.

And then we have the world premiere by a composer who’s in association with the Orchestra, Patrick Giguère. I think it’s wonderful that the LSO is doing this kind of programme with young composers and I’ll do my best to make it a good experience for the young composer and to do justice to the piece.

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