Susanna Mälkki – advocate of contemporary music

Susanna Mälkki – advocate of contemporary music

Susanna Mälkki – chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – is a compelling advocate of contemporary music. She has conducted many world and national premieres of works by UMPC composers, including Luca Francesconi’s opera Quartett or his violin concerto Duende, Pascal Dusapin’s Cello Concerto Outscape , various works by Francesca Verunelli and Georges Aperghis, as well as Olga Neuwirth’s percussion concerto Trurliade – Zone Zero, and many more.

Susanna Mälkki is also the driving force behind Enno Poppe’s new work for orchestra, Fett – to be world premiered by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2019, with further concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio’s musica viva series, both co-commissioners for the project.

Picture of Susanna Malkki

Her approach to scores – no matter from which epoch – seems to be driven by an enormous curiosity combined with a deep ability to understand and distill the essential materials of the composers’ ideas. Susanna Mälkki’s most recent performance of Messiaen’s Turangalila with the LA Phil is a perfect example of how she is able to clearly communicate the composer’s ideas through an orchestra to an audience. As the LA Times writes: »She took at face value all of Messiaen and made it purposeful.« 

And finally – even if a few days early – Happy Birthday, Susanna!
Pictures: Simon Fowler