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  • LAPA
  • Apr. 6, 2016
  • Los Angeles, CA (April 6, 2016) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced today the appointment of Susanna Mälkki as Principal Guest Conductor of the LA Phil. She assumes her new role in the 2017/18 season for a three-year term. This prestigious position has been held by only two previous conductors: Sir Simon Rattle (1981-1994) and Michael Tilson Thomas (1981-1985).  

    Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki began her relationship with the LA Phil in 2010 and was immediately invited to return, quickly forging a strong rapport with the orchestra. As Principal Guest Conductor, Mälkki will present three subscription weeks as part of the Walt Disney Concert Hall 2017/18 season, Green Umbrella dates as well as other projects with the orchestra to be announced. Mälkki will bring her extraordinary musicianship to the LA Phil, complementing the orchestra’s existing innovative musical vision. She will develop multi-year projects from the standard repertoire which will be unfurled over the course of three seasons; in addition, she brings her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for the music of our time to the table by presenting and commissioning composers who are important to her.

    In response to her appointment, Mälkki said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to deepen my collaboration with the wonderful Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in the years to come. The orchestra is one of the most exciting, versatile and skillful ensembles in the world, truly showing what a symphony orchestra of the 21st century can be. Belonging to the artistic team of this fantastic institution is most inspiring to me, and I’m very much looking forward to music-making with the orchestra.”

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel said of Mälkki’s appointment, “Susanna Mälkki is one of the most gifted conductors I know, and the orchestra also loves and trusts her. It is wonderful to have such a vibrant artist as our principal guest, and I am very pleased and proud to welcome her to the LA Phil family.”  

    “Susanna Mälkki is a unique talent who immediately had a deep connection with us and our musical values.” said Deborah Borda, LA Phil President and CEO and David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair. “Her sense of adventure and innovation is making a major statement and impact in the world of music. It’s a terrific fit with the DNA of our institution. Susanna complements our remarkable conducting roster and represents our commitment to a diversified leadership.”

    Susanna Mälkki’s versatility and broad repertoire make her a much sought-after artist. Appointed as the Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, effective from the 2016/17 season, she has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra since 2013 and was previously Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Artistic Director of Stavanger Symfoniorkester. She made her North American conducting debut in February 2007 and regularly works with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York.

    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 was one of the principals of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (1995-1998). She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London and 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, one of Finland’s highest honors. Additionally, in January of 2016, she was inducted as Chevalier into the Légion d’honneur.


    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season extends from September through June at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs. 

  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,, 213.972.3422
    Lisa White,, 213.972.3408
    Andrew Schwartz,, 213.972.3406
    Photos: 213.972.3034