Susanna Mälkki (born Helsinki, Finland, 13 March 1969) is a Finnish conductor. Trained as a cellist as a pupil of Hannu Kiiski, she later studied conducting with Jorma Panula, as well as Eri Klas and Leif Segerstam, at the Sibelius Academy. She has also studied at London's Royal Academy of Music. She participated in a Sibelius Academy Conductor's Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1998, under the supervision of Panula and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
From 1995 to 1998, Mälkki was principal cellist in the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. She left her Gothenburg position to devote herself to conducting. From 2002–2005, she was the music director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Her debut with the Ensemble InterContemporain (EIC) was in August 2004, in a program of Harrison Birtwistle at the Lucerne Festival. She became the EIC's Music Director in 2006, the first woman to hold the post, and served as the EIC's music director until 2013. In May 2013, she was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, with an initial contract of 3 years, effective July 2013. In September 2014, Mälkki was chosen as the next Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, effective autumn 2016.
Mälkki is noted as a specialist in contemporary music. Her work in contemporary music includes opera productions, such as conducting the Finnish premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face in 1999, which led to Adès inviting Mälkki to be his assistant for further performances of this opera in the UK, at the Almeida Theatre, where, as she noted, "I ended up conducting some of the performances".
Mälkki made her New Zealand conducting debut in November 2006 with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Her North American conducting debut was in February 2007 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her conducting debut at the BBC Proms was in July 2007, leading the London Sinfonietta.
Mälkki has recorded two works of Stuart MacRae for the NMC label, Two Scenes from the Death of Count Ugolino and Motus. With the EIC, she has conducted recordings of music by Bruno Mantovani, Luca Francesconi, Philippe Manoury, Michael Jarrell, Pierre Jodlowski, and Yann Robin, all for the Kairos label.