Like Georg Schnéevoigt, Susanna Mälkki began her musical career as a cellist. She studied the cello at the Sibelius Academy, and for a few years in Stockholm and at the Royal Academy of Music in London and shared the first prize (with Roi Ruottinen) in the Turku Cello Competition in 1994. From 1995 onwards she studied conducting in the classes of Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam – two of the HPO’s legendary former conductors – at the Sibelius Academy.
Susanna Mälkki and Georg Schnéevoigt also have something else in common: a markedly international career from the very start. Susanna Mälkki made her breakthrough as conductor of the opera Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès in 1999. Adès was so impressed with the performance that he demanded that she conduct the opera on a tour of the UK, and her international career thus got off to a brisk start.
Subsequent positions held by Susanna Mälkki have included that of director of the Ensemble InterContemporain (2006–2013) and Artistic Director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. She has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the London Philharmonic and numerous other orchestras, as well as a wealth of opera both at home in Finland and abroad.
As a conductor, Susanna Mälkki has been described as elegant and dynamic, and her style of conducting as natural and straightforward. She is particularly acclaimed for her readings of 20th-century music. Susanna Mälkki began as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra as of the beginning of the 2016/2017 season.
Sources: Vesa Sirén – Suomalaiset kapellimestarit, Wikipedia & Susanna Mälkki's biography 2015