Susanna Mälkki wins Nordic Council Music Prize

Conductor Susanna Mälkki has been awarded this year’s Nordic Council Music Prize. 

During her career Susanna Mälkki has conducted symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and operas around the world. Appointed Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016, Mälkki has just begun her work as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – with her first concert taking place last week.

This is what the Nordic Council Music Prize Adjudication Committee wrote about Mälkki:

“Susanna Mälkki is a versatile and dedicated maestro of both the classical and contemporary repertoire. Having forged her own path through the world of classical music, she now ranks among the top international conductors.

Mälkki explores and expands the sound and sonic colours of every work she conducts. She reinterprets masterpieces of the traditional music canon with an original and contemporary approach, often surprising the listener with fresh new details and soundscapes.

Once a successful cellist, Mälkki draws on that experience with consummate skill in her work as a conductor. For her, conducting is all about working with both the musicians and the composers.

As Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a regular guest conductor at the highest level all over the world and a champion of contemporary Nordic music, Mälkki endows conducting with fresh energy and new perspectives, concentrating on the one thing that really matters – the music. All in all, Susanna is an inspiring and innovative role model and extremely important to the future of classical and contemporary music.”

Previous Finnish Nordic Council Music Prize winners include Joonas Kokkonen (1965), Aulis Sallinen (1978), Magnus Lindberg (1988), Mellersta Österbottens Kammarorkester (1993), Erik Bergman (1994), Leif Segerstam (1999), Kaija Saariaho (2000), Kari Kriikku (2009) and Pekka Kuusisto (2013).

Read our feature article on Susanna Mälkki from 2015.