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Susanna Malkki to Conduct New York Philharmonic in NYC Concert Premiere by Esa-Pekka Salonen

Susanna Malkki to Conduct New York Philharmonic in NYC Concert Premiere by Esa-Pekka Salonen

The New York Philharmonic will perform the New York Concert Premiere of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen's Helix, conducted by the Finnish composer's compatriot Susanna Mälkki, Musical America's 2017 Conductor of the Year.

Ms. Mälkki will also conduct Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, with Baiba Skride as soloist, and Debussy's La Mer, Thursday, January 11, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 12 at 2:00 p.m.; and Saturday, January 13 at 8:00 p.m.

The New York Times wrote that Esa-Pekka Salonen's Helix is an "exuberant showpiece ... the tempo markings steadily increase throughout, adding propulsive force to a work that, thick with detail, throws out sounds and ideas as it builds steam. Mr. Salonen clearly enjoys immersing himself in an orchestra's sound and playing with the many things it can do."

Susanna Mälkki made her Philharmonic debut in May 2015 in a performance The New York Times praised as "inquisitive," "ebullient and imaginative," and "auspicious." Like Mr. Salonen, she was born in Helsinki and attended the Sibelius Academy. She is chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which Esa-Pekka Salonen led as music director (1992-2009) and currently serves as conductor laureate.

Esa-Pekka Salonen - the composer-conductor who displays "a kind of complete musicianship rarely encountered today" (The Boston Globe) - is in his third and final season as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence. The Orchestra gave the New York Premiere of his Gambit in October 2017, and in April 2018 he will conduct a World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commission by Kravis Emerging Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir; Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica; and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Benjamin Grosvenor as soloist (inaugural recipient of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic). Highlights of his residency have included the New York and European Premieres of his Cello Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma (2017); the CONTACT! concerts "Salonen's Floof and Other Delights" (2016) and "The Messiaen Connection" (2016); and his conducting Messiaen's Turangalîla-symphonie, as part of Messiaen Week (2016), and Circle Map,a program celebrating Kaija Saariaho presented by Park Avenue Armory (2016).


The 2017-18 season marks Susanna Mälkki's debut as principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; her highlights there include orchestral works by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, and Richard Strauss. She also enters her second season as chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, leading works by Mahler, Bartók, and Mozart, among others, as well as a tour to Salzburg and Paris with cellist Truls Mørk. In 2017 she concluded her four-year tenure as principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra. As a guest conductor, Ms. Mälkki began the 2017-18 season with a return to the Berlin Philharmonic (Berliner Festspiele). She recently returned to The Cleveland Orchestra and the San Francisco, Chicago, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras, and in March 2017 she made her London Symphony Orchestra debut, and returns there in April 2018. Other forthcoming engagements include the New York Philharmonic and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and her Czech Philharmonic debut. She has previously conducted the New World, Bavarian Radio, and BBC (at the BBC Proms) symphony orchestras as well as the London Sinfonietta, Oslo Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and La Fenice Philharmonic Orchestra. A renowned opera conductor, Ms. Mälkki makes her debut at the Vienna Staatsoper in 2018 in Gottfried von Einem's Dantons Tod. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in December 2016 leading Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin, and returned to the Opéra national de Paris in spring 2017 for the World Premiere of Trompe-la-Mort by Luca Francesconi, with whom she had previously collaborated on Quartett. In 2011 she became the first woman to conduct a production at Milan's Teatro alla Scala; she returned there in 2014. Other highlights include Janá?ek's The Makropulos Case(Opéra national de Paris), R. Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (Finnish National Opera), and her debut at the Hamburg Staatsoper for Janá?ek's Jen?fa. As a student at the Sibelius Academy, Susanna Mälkki studied with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Prior to studying conducting, she had a successful career as a cellist, serving as one of the Gothenburg Symphony's principals from 1995 to 1998. Her honors include receiving the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, one of Finland's highest honors (2011), and being elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London (2010), a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in France (2016), and Musical America's Conductor of the Year (2017). Susanna Mälkki made her New York Philharmonic debut in May 2015, leading a program of Brahms and Jonathan Harvey.

Violinist Baiba Skride has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Boston, NHK, and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras. She has collaborated with conductors including Olari Elts, Christoph Eschenbach, Edward Gardner, Susanna Mälkki, Andris Nelsons, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Santtu Matias Rouvali, Vasily Petrenko, Andris Poga, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Dima Slobodeniouk, Tugan Sokhiev, John Storgårds, and Xian Zhang. In 2017-18 she returns to the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Also this season, she makes her debuts with the Hong Kong and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras, tours Spain with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and performs in Stockholm's Konserthuset with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. With contemporary music central to her music-making, in February 2017 she performed the World Premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Bayan with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; this season she reprises the work with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Last season she formed the Skride Quartet with Lauma Skride, Harriet Krijgh, and Lise Berthaud, which this season appears at the Utrecht Chamber Music Festival, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, among others. She also performs in quintet with Alban Gerhard, Brett Dean, Gergana Gergova, and Amihai Grosz at Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and Zurich's Tonhalle. Born into a musical family in Riga, Latvia, where she began her studies, Ms. Skride transferred to the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Rostock in 1995 and won First Prize in the 2001 Queen Elisabeth Competition. She plays the Yfrah Neaman Stradivarius kindly loaned to her by the Neaman family through the Beares International Violin Society. Baibe Skride made her New York Philharmonic debut in February 2016, performing Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2 conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) wrote his Violin Concerto in one month in 1877, toward the end of a tumultuous year in which he entered into an ill-conceived marriage to Antonina Milyukova, whom he had just met. By the time he approached work on the Violin Concerto, his spirits had improved. He wrote: "From the day I began to write it [a] favorable mood has not left me. In such a spiritual state composition loses all aspect of work - it is a continuous delight." The concerto was originally intended for Leopold Auer, but the virtuoso deemed the solo part unplayable and refused to perform it. The work was not premiered until December 4, 1881, when Adolf Brodsky took on the challenge in Vienna. In this concerto, Tchaikovsky creates a song-like solo violin part that lies over an orchestral score packed with energy and bold melodies. Walter Damrosch led the New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) in the first complete performance of the concerto in the United States in January 1889, with Maud Powell as soloist. The Orchestra most recently performed it in September 2016, with Lisa Batiashvili as soloist, conducted by then Music Director Alan Gilbert.

The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958) composed his self-described "celebratory and direct overture-like" Helix in 2005. He writes: "The form of Helix can indeed be described as a spiral or a coil. ... The tempo gets faster, but the note values of the phrases become correspondingly longer. Therefore only the material's relation to the pulse changes, not necessarily the impression of speed itself. Hence the spiral metaphor: the material (which consists essentially of two different phrases) is being pushed through constantly narrowing concentric circles until the music reaches a point where it has to stop as it has nowhere to go." Commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Proms, Helix is dedicated to Valery Gergiev and the World Orchestra for Peace, who performed the August 2005 premiere at the BBC Proms. Helix was previously presented in New York in a dance performance by the L.A. Dance Project, choreographed by Justin Peck, at The Joyce Theater in July 2016.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) began composing La Mer in the summer of 1902 and completed it in March 1905, but continued to revise it over many years. Debussy's seventh major orchestral score, the sweeping work is comparable in scope to a symphony and is in three movements: De l'aube à midi sur la mer (From Dawn to Noon on the Sea); Jeux de vagues (Play of Waves); and Dialogue du vent et de la mer (Dialogue Between the Wind and the Sea). Although Parisian critics understood that the work marked a departure in Debussy's style, not all were pleased by the new muscularity. Today La Mer stands as one of Debussy's masterpieces and is considered one of the first landmarks of 20th-century music. The New York Philharmonic first performed it in February 1922, conducted by Willem Mengelberg; the Orchestra most recently performed it in April 2012 subscription concerts and in that year's Annual Free Memorial Day Concert at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, both led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert.

Single tickets for this performance start at $32. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $18 tickets for select concerts may be available for students within 10 days of the performance at, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

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