Before she trained as a conductor under Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam in Helsinki, Susanna Mälkki was principal cellist of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and toured as a soloist and chamber musician – a job she wouldn’t want to miss out on today: “Orchestras are very special entities. It’s good to get to know some of them from the inside. You understand how they work.” The Finnish musician made her debut conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2008, and has been a regular guest since then.
Susanna Mälkki was chief conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, first principal conductor of the Ensemble intercontemporain, with whom she gave the (world) premiere of numerous contemporary works, and the first woman to conduct an orchestra at La Scala in Milan. Since the 2016/17 season, she has been chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and also associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as principal guest conductor. Susanna Mälkki has worked with leading European and North American orchestras, including the San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Munich Philharmonic. She also gives guest performances at renowned opera houses such as the Opéra national de Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Teatro alla Scala Milan. She is a member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and has been honoured with numerous prizes, such as the Medal Pro Finlandia, one of the country’s highest awards. Susanna Mälkki was also named Conductor of the Year 2017 by the critics of [Musical America] magazine and was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.