Susanna Mälkki
Conductor

"Conductor Susanna Mälkki’s sensational debut is easily the most impressive CSO podium bow of recent seasons." (Chicago Classical Review)

Contacts

Jane Brown +44 (0)20 3725 9129
Rose Hooks +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Biography

Principal Guest Conductor: Gulbenkian Orchestra
Chief Conductor: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (from 2016/17)

 

 

Susanna Mälkki has recently been appointed Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, effective from the 2016/17 season.

Her versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and opera houses throughout the world. This season Mälkki debuts with The Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York Philharmonic orchestras, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro la Fenice. She also returns to the San Francisco Symphony, Helsinki and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras.

Guest

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Principal Guest Conductor: Gulbenkian Orchestra
Chief Conductor: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (from 2016/17)

 

 

Susanna Mälkki has recently been appointed Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, effective from the 2016/17 season.

Her versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and opera houses throughout the world. This season Mälkki debuts with The Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York Philharmonic orchestras, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro la Fenice. She also returns to the San Francisco Symphony, Helsinki and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras.

Guest conducting at the highest level in both Europe and North America, Mälkki’s recent highlights include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra Sinfonica della Scala, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai. Notable recent debuts include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.

A renowned opera conductor, Mälkki performed Le nozze di Figaro with Finnish National Opera in August 2014 and follows this with her debut with Staatsoper Hamburg, conducting a revival of Janáček’s Jenůfawith Karita Mattila in the title role.  In April 2011 Mälkki made her debut at Teatro alla Scala, Milan – the first woman to conduct a production there in the company’s history – and returned in January 2014.

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Audio

Contacts

Jane Brown +44 (0)20 3725 9129
Rose Hooks +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Reviews

"...it was fascinating to see how expressively Mälkki sculpted and coaxed the music with her flowing, graceful movements." (The Classical Review, July 2014)

“When Susanna Mälkki made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in 2010 it was hoped — at least by me — that the Finnish conductor would be invited back to show what she could really do. She was. And Sunday afternoon in Walt Disney Concert Hall, she did….Brahms’s Fourth Symphony was a knockout… Mälkki etched lines with a crisp and dry sensibility. She luxuriated in nothing. She brought out details that took the breath away. She demonstrated Brahms as the progressive that Schoenberg had claimed he was. Harmonies felt intended for the 20th century. A

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"...it was fascinating to see how expressively Mälkki sculpted and coaxed the music with her flowing, graceful movements." (The Classical Review, July 2014)

“When Susanna Mälkki made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in 2010 it was hoped — at least by me — that the Finnish conductor would be invited back to show what she could really do. She was. And Sunday afternoon in Walt Disney Concert Hall, she did….Brahms’s Fourth Symphony was a knockout… Mälkki etched lines with a crisp and dry sensibility. She luxuriated in nothing. She brought out details that took the breath away. She demonstrated Brahms as the progressive that Schoenberg had claimed he was. Harmonies felt intended for the 20th century. A too-played symphony was given new life.” (Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, April 2013)

“Ms. Mälkki showed that Strauss, Debussy and Messiaen were demonstrating their skills more than they were testing them in these early pieces, creating music that is confident and deep rather than shallow or brash. Her gripping, polished accounts of the two Strauss tone poems showed them fully formed and forward thinking…. Energetic conducting can often mean, simply, fast. But Ms. Mälkki’s work was never exaggerated in tempo. The vitality came instead from the precision of the orchestra’s playing and the crispness of the musical line, the way that Ms. Mälkki was able to make transitions of speed and mood both surprising and natural.” (Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, April 2013)

“Mälkki can invest anything she touches with persuasive grandeur…. She managed the music’s flow with serene mastery.” (San Francisco Chronicle, April 2012)

“Finnish guest conductor Susanna Mälkki combined graceful precision and fiery energy throughout the program. Her expressive hands shaped the music and made her intentions abundantly clear to the orchestra, which followed her closely all evening.” (The Seattle Times, April 2012)

"In Ives’ “The Unanswered Question” and “Three Places in New England,” and no less in Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra,” Mälkki displayed an easy brilliance that bespoke intimate understanding of both composers. She also showed a rich technical vocabulary for putting her consistently original ideas across. The CSO answered with an exhilarating performance. It was one of the most remarkable first encounters with a conductor I’ve experienced in a long while.

"Strauss’ richly woven textures, which can sound almost opaque in the wrong hands, shone with a rare transparency in Mälkki’s smartly defined voicings. There was a grand sweep to the sound she drew from the CSO, but also a gratifying intimacy as she allowed woodwinds, brasses and strings to have their moments in the sun. This was polished, boldly assertive and thoroughly musical leadership. It should not be a question of whether but when – indeed, how soon – Mälkki returns to the CSO." (Chicago on the aisle, October 2011)

"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. 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." (Chicago Classical Review, October 2011)

“Mälkki conducts without a baton and respects transparency. Her rhythmic gestures are precise and energizing.” (Los Angeles Times, November 2010)

"Mälkki’s foundation was a rhythmic energy that constantly percolated underneath the musical surface, producing an unusually fresh rendition of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony. It was a terrific performance." (Boston Globe, August 2010)

“Mälkki's handling of Ravel's mordant choreographic poem deserved the most hearty clap. The new Finnish star of classical music had controlled the BBC Symphony Orchestra so tightly, the music's sensuous lilt hardening into brash sparkle before roaring balefully toward Hell, with every twinge or layer of colour gleaming.” (The Times, February 2010)

“Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki is an elegant presence on the podium; tall and commanding, she combines strength and decisiveness with balletic grace and expressiveness that hold the eye as her music-making holds the ear.” (St Louis Post-Dispatch, January 2010)