Balancing tradition and cutting-edge

Susanna Mälkki takes command of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra as the first woman in the position.

In autumn 2016 Susanna Mälkki takes charge as Chief Conductor of the HPO – not only the first woman in that post, but only the third worldwide in such a position.

Susanna Mälkki strides onto the Helsinki Music Centre stage in a slim-cut black suit. She’s a petite figure, earrings sparkling, blonde ponytail swaying – but immediately, decisively takes command of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s 100-plus musicians. With energetic, fluid motions, she leads her force through a shattering Russian programme of Liadov, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

Besides being the first woman to conduct a production at Milan’s la Scala, she’s led opera productions in Hamburg and Paris, as well as the top US orchestras in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.