Susanna Mälkki is awarded Nordic Music Prize

Susanna Mälkki is awarded Nordic Music Prize


norman lebrecht

November 02, 2017

The Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki has been awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize 2017. It’s worth tremendous prestige and a decent amount of cash – DKK 350,000 ($55,000).



  • Pedro says:

    A superb conductor. Congratulations to her.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Indeed. Judging from an exceptional concert of hers with the Boston Symphony I attended a few years ago, she should have a blogpost here at least every week.

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    What an awful choice.

    • Max Grimm says:

      Just for general information, these were the other nominees:

      Nominations for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2017

      – FIGURA Ensemble
      – The Danish String Quartet

      – Iiro Rantala – pianist
      – Susanna Mälkki – conductor

      Faroe Islands
      – Yggdrasil

      – Nanook

      – Emilíana Torrini – singer
      – Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson – pianist

      – Lise Davidsen – soprano
      – Supersilent

      – Martin Fröst – clarinetist
      – Seinabo Sey – singer

      – Jenny Carlstedt – mezzosoprano

      • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

        Thank you for the info, Max. As far as I know, there are maaaaaaaaany Finnish conductors, young and old, very famous and not so famous. But she is the only one who get chosen??? It tells us all about this “prize”. Did any one hear about a guy called Dima Slobodeniouk? He seems to be another good Finnish conductor with substance. I was pretty convinced by the one performance I saw him conducting. BTW, it was an all Nordic program. I also heard that Mikko Franck is good. Could anyone who had the chance to listen him live confirm that?

        • Max Grimm says:

          I only heard Franck conduct live once; not enough for me to form a balanced opinion.
          As far as conductors winning the Nordic Council Music Prize, Mälkki is only the thrid conductor to have been selected period, after Eric Ericson (Sweden) in 1995 and Leif Segerstam (Finland) in 1999.
          Something that may have worked in Mrs. Mälkki’s favour is the fact that she is a conductor with a forte in contemporary music and 10 out of the 15 jury-members being contemporary composers…

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Well, speaking about contemporary music, I think most Finnish conductors are at least above-averagely active in this field. In fact, every single CD I have with Mikko Franck is contemporary music. And every single concert I heard with Salonen was featuring contemporary music (well, in most cases his own music …) When I was last time in Helsinki and checked out the concert programs in that region, I found out that almost everyone was doing contemporary and modern music.

            Even Herbert Blomstedt, who must also qualify for this prize, was a towering champion in terms of promoting Scandinavian contemporary music when he was young! He conducted numerous world premieres of works by Nordic composers. He also has an hugely impressive list of recordings of Scandinavian modern music. For instance, if my memory is correct, he was the first one to record the complete Nielsen symphonies, back in his early career at the Danish radio symphony.

            What has this SUSANNA to show us? Does she at least have one recording which can be called richtungsweisend?

        • Pedro says:

          Franck is very good. I remember Tosca in Helsinki with Mattila and Tristan in Paris ( concert version – Stemme was the Isolde ). Both performances were superb. But Mälkki is of the same level. Magnificent Mahler 9 and Lied von der Erde, with an orchestra not used to these works.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Could you tell us more information about Mälkki’s DLvdE and M9? I would like to check them out if possible. Thank you!

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Are you referring to her performance with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in August this year? The program looks fantastic! I will definitely check out this recording.
            Thank you again for the info.

            Helsinki Music Centre, Concert Hall, 18-08-2017

            Gerhild Romberger, alto,
            Burkhard Fritz, tenor,
            Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
            conducted by Susanna Mälkki

            * STRAVINSKY: A Funeral Song.
            * SHOSTAKOVICH: Intermezzo from ‘The Nose’.
            * MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde.

        • buxtehude says:

          Dima Slobodeniouk is Russian; at least he started out that way and so remained into the top music schools.

          Just whatever’s grouped under Nordic, and it seems to change, Russia is not among it.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            He himself openly said that he is a Finn and he has spent the larger part of his life in Finland.
            Finland is historically and culturally closely related to (at least certain part of) Russia. Think about the Karelia region.

            The difference between a Finn and a Russian could be smaller than that of two “Americans” living in the same city.

  • Anon says:

    Crazy idea, to award a price for musicianship, based on nationality. Middle age mentality.

  • Pedro says:

    The Mahler performances I mentioned above took place in Lisbon with the Gulbenkian orchestra which Malkki rose to new heights. She used to be their Principal Guest conductor and it is a pity that she left the position at the end of last season. Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Shostakovitsch first cello concerto with Gutman were also very impressive.