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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

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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 >

Coming from a rich tradition, pianist Andreas Haefliger “belongs to that elite group of interpreters…one of the most serious, questing pianists on the circuit today… breathtaking virtuosity…a complete Beethovenian” (Telegraph, May 2018). He has won many plaudits for his Beethoven Perspectives recitals on disc and at major halls & festivals, and is also much sought-after as a chamber musician.

Haefliger was born into a distinguished Swiss musical family and grew up in Germany, going on to study at the Juilliard School in New York. He was quickly recognised as a pianist of the first rank, and engagements with major US orchestras followed swiftly – the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh, Chicago and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestras among them. In his native Europe too, Haefliger has appeared with the great orchestras and festivals – such as the Royal Concertgebouw, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony Orchestra and Vienna Symphony. He is well recognised as a superb recitalist, making his New York debut in 1988, and has ongoing regular relationships with the Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals, and the Vienna Konzerthaus, as well as at major halls across North America and Asia.

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 Haefliger’s solo recital appearances and CD recordings in recent years. His latest chamber music project gathers friends and top chamber musicians for intensive rehearsal periods and concerts every year at the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, with a tour in January 2019 to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Madrid, Bilbao and Hong Kong. He also continues to partner in occasional lieder recitals, most recently with Italian baritone Andrè Schuen.

In Summer 2019 Haefliger will give the world premiere in London of a concerto specially commissioned for him from compatriot Dieter Ammann, followed by the North American premiere with Boston Symphony and Susanna Malkki in the Autumn. Other future co-commissioners include the Wiener Konzerthaus, Munich Philharmonic, Luzern Festival (where he will appear with the Helsinki Philharmonic) and Taiwan Philharmonic.

Other highlights in 18/19 include Bartok 3 with the Wiener Symphoniker and Susanna Malkki at the Wiener Konzerthaus; Mozart and Ravel concerti with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra under Donald Runnicles at the Luzern Piano Festival; and returns to the Wigmore Hall, NCPA Mumbai, Aspen Festival (Mozart with Ludovic Morlot).

Haefliger recently signed an exclusive recording contract with BIS who released his latest Perspectives CD in Spring 2018; concerto recordings are in the pipeline. Haefliger began his career with Sony Classical recording Mozart sonatas followed by Schumann’s Davidsbündlertanze and Fantasiestücke, Schubert Impromptus, and music by Sofia Gubaidulina. Later Haefliger recorded for Decca with the Takács Quartet and also Matthias Goerne, winning the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for their disc of Schubert’s Goethe songs.

Andreas Haefliger is represented by Intermusica. 2018-19 season /488 words. Not to be altered without permission. Intermusica represents Andreas Haefliger worldwide Susie Mcleod, Director, Artist Management +44 20 7608 9920, Kimberley Bourlet, Assistant Artist Manager +44 20 7608 9943,


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)
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