© Jiyang Chen
Susanna Mälkki was born in Helsinki and led a brilliant career as a cellist (during which, from 1995 to 1998, she was first cellist for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra). Soon thereafter, she turned her attention to conducting and trained at the Sibelius Academy under Jorma Panula and Leif Segertram. She conducts both the symphonic and opera repertoires as well as chamber and contemporary music ensembles. In 2004, she made her debut with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, ultimately becoming its musical director from 2006 to 2013. She has headed the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since the 2016 / 2017 season and has also been the principal guest conductor for the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra since September 2013. She will occupy the same position at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from the start of the 2017 / 2018 season.
She has conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Chicago, San Francisco, and Cleveland Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphonieorchester, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
In the realms of opera, she has conducted Der Rosenkavalier, The Marriage of Figaro and Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin in Helsinki, The Makropoulos Affair at the Paris Opera, and Jenůfa at the Hamburg Staatsoper. In 2011, she made her début at Milan’s La Scala where she conducted the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Quartett and in doing so became the first woman ever to conduct the La Scala Orchestra in the history of that theatre.
In 2010, she also conducted the world premiere of the ballet Siddharta to music by Bruno Mantovani at the Paris Opera and then, in 2012, the world premiere of Marco Stroppa’s Il Re Orso at the Opéra Comique. She recently made her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera with Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin. She is a member of London’s Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2011, she was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, one of Finland’s highest honours. She is also a Chevalier in the Ordre de la
Back to top