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Susanna Mälkki

Susanna Mälkki conducting the Ensemble InterContemporain

Susanna Mälkki (born Helsinki, Finland, 13 March 1969) is a Finnish conductor. Trained as a cellist as a pupil of Hannu Kiiski, she later studied conducting with Jorma Panula,[1] as well as Eri Klas and Leif Segerstam, at the Sibelius Academy. She has also studied at London's Royal Academy of Music.[2] She participated in a Sibelius Academy Conductor's Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1998, under the supervision of Panula and Esa-Pekka Salonen.[3]

From 1995 to 1998, Mälkki was principal cellist in the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. She left her Gothenburg position to devote herself to conducting[2]. From 2002–2005, she was the music director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.[4] Her debut with the Ensemble InterContemporain (EIC) was in August 2004, in a program of Harrison Birtwistle at the Lucerne Festival. She became the EIC's Music Director in 2006, the first woman to hold the post, and served as the EIC's music director until 2013.[5] In May 2013, she was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, with an initial contract of 3 years, effective July 2013.[6] In September 2014, Mälkki was chosen as the next Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, effective autumn 2016.[7]

Mälkki is noted as a specialist in contemporary music.[8][9][10] Her work in contemporary music includes opera productions, such as conducting the Finnish premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face in 1999, which led to Adès inviting Mälkki to be his assistant for further performances of this opera in the UK, at the Almeida Theatre, where, as she noted, "I ended up conducting some of the performances".[1]

Mälkki made her New Zealand conducting debut in November 2006 with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.[11][12] Her North American conducting debut was in February 2007 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.[13] Her conducting debut at the BBC Proms was in July 2007, leading the London Sinfonietta.[14][15]

Mälkki has recorded two works of Stuart MacRae for the NMC label, Two Scenes from the Death of Count Ugolino and Motus.[16] With the EIC, she has conducted recordings of music by Bruno Mantovani, Luca Francesconi, Philippe Manoury, Michael Jarrell, Pierre Jodlowski, and Yann Robin, all for the Kairos label.


  1. ^ a b Charlotte Higgins (2001-03-22). "In a class of her own". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  2. ^ Andrew Clark, "Idealist with a determined streak." Financial Times, 1 March 2005.
  3. ^ Allan Kozinn (1998-02-27). "Critic's Notebook: Gestures, Nods and Eyebrows to Inspire Conductors". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  4. ^ Allan Kozinn (2005-06-11). "Arts, Briefly": "On the Conductorial Front". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Matthias Pintscher est nommé Directeur musical de l'Ensemble intercontemporain" / "Matthias Pintscher appointed Music Director of the Ensemble intercontemporain" (Press Release). Ensemble InterContemporain, 22 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Susanna Mälkki Appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Orquestra Gulbenkian" (Press release). Gulbenkian Música. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  7. ^ "Susanna Mälkki appointed Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. 1 Sep 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (2001-03-27). "BCMG/Malkki (CBSO Centre, Birmingham)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  9. ^ Alfred Hickling (2002-02-01). "Gribbin premiere (All Saints Church, Newcastle)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  10. ^ Rian Evans (2005-03-08). "BCMG/Malkki (CBSO Centre, Birmingham)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  11. ^ Dart, William (8 November 2006). "Instinctive desire to bring out beauty".  
  12. ^ , 8 November 2006.Capital TimesGarth Wilshere, Review of NZSO, conductor Susanna Mälkki, violin soloist Vadim Repin, Michael Fowler Centre.
  13. ^ Sarah Bryan Miller, "Orchestra sails through a nautical theme". St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 February 2007.
  14. ^ Andrew Clements (2007-08-02). "London Sinfonietta/Malkki (review of Prom 25, 2007)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  15. ^ Ivan Hewett (2007-08-01). "BBC Proms review: Epic density and scope". Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  16. ^ Andrew Clements (2006-08-31). "MacRae: Violin Concerto; Two Scenes From the Death of Count Ugolino; Motus, etc, Tetzlaff/ BBCSSO/ Volkov/ Lixenberg/ Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/ Malkki". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 

External links

  • Official Harrison Parrott agency biography
  • Ensemble InterContemporain French-language biography
  • Bilingual interview in French and English on
  • Henna Salmela, Susanna Mälkki: interpreting Puumala (interview about the composer Veli-Matti Puumala).
  • Stuart MacRae, "Violin Concerto". NMC catalog listing, NMC D115.
  • et al., NMC catalog listing, NMC D116.TiroirsDavid Sawer,
  • CocoRosie meets Koninklijk Concertgebouw Orkest with Susanna Mälkki as conductor, 29 April 2008
  • Brian Bell, WGBH Radio's Boston Symphony Orchestra producer interviews Susanna Mälkki, February 2011.
Preceded by
Ole Kristian Ruud
Music Director, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Steven Sloane
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