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Susanna Malkki

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Biography

Conductor and cellist Susanna Mälkki was born in Helsinki, Finland on March 13, 1969. She is best known for focusing on contemporary classical music. When she was young, she began to study the violin, piano, and cello but ended up focusing her attention solely on the cello. While continuing her cello studies, she also began to study conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Royal Academy of Music in London, England. After winning first prize at the Turku National Cello Competition in 1994, she became the principal cellist for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra between 1995 and 1998. However, she chose to leave her position in the orchestra in order to devote her time to conducting. She spent 2002 until 2005 as artistic leader of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra before becoming the Paris, France-based Ensemble InterContemporain’s first female music director. Susanna Mälkki became popular outside of her home country as she began to conduct in countries such as North America, New Zealand, and England. In May 2013, she became the Principal Guest Conductor for the Lisbon, Portugal-based Gulbenkian Orchestra until 2016. When that contract ended, she became the first female conductor for the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016 and had several contract extensions until she announced that she would be stepping down as chief conductor after the 2022-2023 season. Her recorded works include Enchanted Garden (2007), Francesconi: Etymo (2008), Jarrell: Cassandre (2009), Symphonic Works by Arvid Kleven (2010), Bartok: The Wooden Prince / The Miraculous Mandarin Suite (2019), Bartók: Bluebeard’s Castle (2021), and Reich: Runner / Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2022), which was recorded with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.