Principal Guest Conductor, Ann Ronus Chair
A much sought-after artist on the international conducting circuit, Susanna Mälkki’s versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and opera houses around the world.
The current 2017/18 season marks Mälkki’s debut year as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has included such works as Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Mendelssohn’s complete incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. Mälkki is also in her second season as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, continuing the orchestra’s survey of Mahler’s symphonies in performances in Nos.5 and 9 – the season programme also includes works by Strauss, Bartók and Mozart, among others, as well as a concert tour to Salzburg and Paris with Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk. 2017 marked the conclusion of Mälkki’s four-year tenure as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra. She was previously Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (2006-13).
As a guest conductor at the highest level worldwide, Mälkki began the 2017/18 season with a return to the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducting two concerts included in the Berliner Festspiele. She recently returned to the San Francisco (where she also returns in 2018), the Cleveland, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras, and in March 2017 she made her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, stepping in for Valery Gergiev (she returns in April 2018). Other forthcoming engagements include a return to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras and her Czech Philharmonic Orchestra debut. She has previously worked with the New World Symphony, Bayerischer Rundfunk, London Sinfonietta, Oslo Philharmonic and Philadelphia orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC Proms), Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Teatro La Fenice.
A renowned opera conductor, Mälkki makes her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2018 in Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod, directed by Josef Ernst Köpplinger. December 2016 marked her critically acclaimed debut at The Metropolitan Opera, conducting its premiere of Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin; she also returned to the Opéra national de Paris in spring 2017 for the world premiere of Francesconi’s new opera Trompe-la-Mort. Mälkki previously collaborated with Francesconi on Quartett, and was the first woman to conduct a production at Teatro alla Scala, Milan (2011), later returning in 2014. Other past opera highlights include Janáček’s The Makropolous Case at the Opéra national de Paris, Der Rosenkavalier and Le nozze di Figaro with the Finnish National, and her debut at Staatsoper Hamburg conducting a revival of Jenůfa.
A former student at the Sibelius Academy, Mälkki studied with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Prior to her conducting studies, she had a successful career as a cellist and from 1995 to 1998 was one of the principals of the Gothenburg Symphony. In June 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London and she is also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2011, Mälkki was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, which is one of Finland’s highest honors, 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.