Tickets & Events

Susanna Mälkki conducts Fauré, Ammann, Messiaen, and Debussy featuring pianist Andreas Haefliger

Susanna Mälkki conducts Fauré, Ammann, Messiaen, and Debussy featuring pianist Andreas Haefliger

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Hall - Boston, MA View Map

Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki returns for a program of sensually colorful French music as well as the American premiere of Swiss composer Dieter Ammann’s new work for piano and orchestra, written for the German-born Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger. Boasting both jazz and modernist credentials, Ammann writes music of great spontaneity and verve. Debussy’s three-movement La Mer—which was given its American premiere by the BSO in 1907—is among the greatest of all French orchestral works, a musical depiction of the changing states of the sea over the course of a day. The program also includes two shorter works: Fauré’s stately, gorgeous, and familiar Pavane, as well as the third movement of Olivier Messiaen’s early orchestral work L’Ascension (1932), which already demonstrates the composer’s unique voice as well as his Debussy-influenced musical heritage.

Featured Performers

Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Susanna Mälkki, conductor View biography in full page >

“Unmatched for podium presence” (New York Classical Review) and with an “ability to create viscerally arresting performances” (LA Times), Susanna Mälkki is one of today’s most sought-after conductors. Her versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and opera houses around the world.

Mälkki continues to guest-conduct at the very highest level, with 2019/20 appearances including return visits to the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia, London Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras, and the Münchner Philharmoniker and Orchestre national de Lyon. Mälkki also debuts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Recent engagements include the Wiener Symphoniker and Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien (as a Wiener Konzerthaus “Portrait” artist), hr-Sinfonieorchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

2019/20 marks Mälkki’s fourth season as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, with highlights including premieres by leading national composers Saariaho and Wennäkoski and a new work by Felipe Lara (co-commissioned with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, featuring double bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding and flautist Claire Chase), a tour to Belgium in October, and the continuation of the orchestra’s Bartók Trilogy recordings for BIS Records. As part of her third season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mälkki pays tribute to the late Oliver Knussen, programming his Violin Concerto and co-curating (with Leila Josefowicz) a New Music Group concert centered around his chamber music; she also conducts Holst’s The Planets, Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite and a new composition by Saariaho. Mälkki was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra (2013-17) and Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (2006-13).

A renowned opera conductor, Mälkki makes her debut at the Festival d’Aix en Provence in 2020, conducting the world premiere of Saariaho’s new opera Innocence. She also returns to the Opéra national de Paris to conduct Boesmans’ Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne – past engagements include Dvořák’s Rusalka (2019) and the world premiere of Francesconi’s Trompe-la-Mort (2017). In 2018 she debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper in Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod (directed by Josef Ernst Köpplinger); December 2016 marked her debut at The Metropolitan Opera for its premiere of Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin (directed by Robert Lepage). Mälkki previously collaborated with Francesconi on Quartett and was the first woman to conduct a production at Teatro alla Scala, Milan (2011), later returning in 2014. Other past opera highlights include Der Rosenkavalier and Le nozze di Figaro (Finnish National) and her debut at Staatsoper Hamburg conducting a revival of Jenůfa.

A former student of the Sibelius Academy, Mälkki studied with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Prior to her conducting studies, she had a successful career as a cellist and from 1995 to 1998 was one of the principals of the Gothenburg Symphony. In June 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and she is also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2011 Mälkki was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland – one of Finland’s highest honours – and in January 2016 was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in France. In October 2016 she was named Musical America’s 2017 Conductor of the Year, and in November 2017 she was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.

Susanna Mälkki, conductor Andreas Haefliger, piano
Andreas Haefliger, piano View biography in full page >

Pianist Andreas Haefliger was born into a distinguished Swiss musical family and grew up in Germany, going on to study at the Juilliard School. He was quickly recognized as a pianist of the first rank, and engagements with major U.S. orchestras followed swiftly, among them the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics, and the Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. His European appearances have encompassed such major festivals and orchestras as the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Symphony Orchestra, the Munich and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouworkest, and Vienna Symphony. He has ongoing relationships with the Edinburgh and Lucerne festivals, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and other major halls across North America and Asia. Mr. Haefliger is a regular visitor to London’s Wigmore Hall with his “Perspectives” series, in which he performs the complete piano works of Beethoven alongside works by other composers, from Mozart to Ligeti. This series has formed the focus of Mr. Haefliger’s solo recital appearances and CD recordings in recent years. At this summer’s BBC Proms, he gave the world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo of compatriot Dieter Ammann’s new concerto, which was specially commissioned for him and which he performs in its U.S. premiere with the BSO (a co-commissioner of the work) this week. In March 2020 he joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra in a special Beethoven concert at the Royal Festival Hall, playing the Fourth Piano Concerto, Choral Fantasy, and the solo Fantasia in G minor, Opus 77. Other highlights of Mr. Haefliger’s 2019-20 season include music of Beethoven with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and in recital at the Flagey Piano Festival, as well as Mozart with Ludovic Morlot at the Aspen Festival. He also tours to Japan, culminating in a solo recital at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan. Mr. Haefliger records exclusively for BIS Records, which released his latest “Perspectives” CD in spring 2018. His first concerto recording, slated for release in spring 2020, features Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand, and the new Ammann work, all with Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Andreas Haefliger made his BSO debut in November/December 1996 as a soloist in Messiaen’s Concert à quatre for flute, oboe, cello, and piano, returning in January/February 1999 as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, in March 2002 for the world premiere of Michael Colgrass’s BSO-commissioned Crossworlds for flute, piano, and orchestra, and in October 2005 as soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto. He has appeared in recital at Tanglewood in 1995 and 2010.

Andreas Haefliger, piano
Program Notes Audio
FAURÉ - Pavane
Dieter AMMANN - The Piano Concerto (“Gran Toccata”) (American premiere; BSO co-commission)
MESSIAEN - “Alleluia on the trumpet, alleluia on the cymbal” from L’Ascension
DEBUSSY - La Mer (22 min)
Audio Concert Preview (coming soon) - Full Program Notes
Listen/Watch Related Media

The BSO Media Center offers program snapshots of upcoming performances as well as audio concert previews and video podcasts!