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The Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki began her career as principal cellist with the Gothenburg Symphony, of which she was a member from 1995 to 1998. She completed her training as a conductor at the Sibelius Academy in her native Helsinki, where she studied with Jorma Panula, Eri Klas, and Leif Segerstam. She embarked on her first leadership position in 2002 as Music Director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, which she held for three years. After she conducted the Ensemble intercontemporain for the first time in 2004 at LUCERNE FESTIVAL, she was immediately offered the post of Music Director and continued in that role from 2006 to 2013. Mälkki has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon since 2013; at the beginning of the 2016-17 season she takes over as Music Director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and starting in the 2017-18 season she will also be closely associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Principal Guest Conductor. Susanna Mälkki has also become known as an opera conductor. She has conducted the Scandinavian premiere of Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face at the Musica Nova Festival Helsinki, Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin at Finnish National Opera and at the Holland Festival, and the world premiere of Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone in Vienna. In 2011 she became the first woman conductor to perform at La Scala in Milan. She made her debut at the Hamburg Staatsoper with Janáček’s Jenůfa in 2014 and will appear for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in December 2016. Mälkki has guest conducted many renowned orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam; the Philharmonia Orchestra; the Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras; the New York Philharmonic; and the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 17 August 2002 with the Orchestre Philharmonique Suisse in a program of works by Frangis Ali-Sade, Ravel, and Rimsky-Korsakov.