Irene Jane Baker and ‘Red’ Mike Eriksson Bring their Blues to Stockholm

I met Irene Baker seven years ago at a family gathering. She is aunt to the eldest of Eva’s four offspring. As she and I became acquainted, she told me of an upcoming concert at Sofia Church where she was to sing in one of the two choral groups which were jointly performing Sergey Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil.” I wrote about the experience here.

The years unrolled; she and I were in touch here and there, mainly through Facebook. I learned that she is deeply rooted in the classical forms of music, plays various instruments, especially piano, and that she teaches music and the English and French languages. Further, she’s a poet and writer of stories. And, of course, a singer.


‘Red’ Mike Eriksson & Irene Jane Baker at ‘Bluesbaren’, Stockholm

Imagine my surprise when recently she publicly announced she and a musical colleague had made a pilgrimage to the southern portion of the USA to experience the roots of the music we know as blues, and other indigenous musical forms. Inspired by her experiences, she wrote original music and lyrics to commemorate and honor the music and musicians of the present and past in this region.

Then she and Red Mike got it together to take their guitars and her voice on a traveling show around Stockholm and other venues. I went to see them at Bluesbaren (The Blues Bar) on September 10. On the walls of the small bar are large photographs of blues legends, including (the largest photo) B.B. King. (I had met Mr. King in the 1960s. I was in Reno for a bit of modest gambling with some friends, and found myself standing behind him in the Keno line. I shook his hand and told him of my admiration for his music. He was then performing at this hotel/casino).

Each item on the menu at Bluesbaren has attached to it the name of American or Swedish blues artists: Howlin’ Wolf, R. L. Burnside, Albert King, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Nina Simone (I saw her perform in San Francisco around fifty-five years ago), Joe Bonamassa, Rolf Wikström, Big Mama Thornton, Beth Hart, Beverly Watkins.
I had arrived to the bar around a half-hour before the announced time of Irene’s appearance in order to get a good seat—right in front.

Irene soon arrived and we hugged a greeting. “Red” Mike arrived a bit later, and they set up their instruments and fiddled with the sound system to get everything just right—no hurry, relaxed like in the Southern USA.

The music was new, yet it was familiar. Each song evoked memories of music I have heard throughout my life. Red Mike’s expert guitar licks backed up Irene’s basic guitar strokes and her wonderful voice. Irene’s classical training in voice was evident in what I call the ‘trueness’ of her singing—always meeting the needs of the music and the listener’s ear.

I relaxed into the performance. A few songs in, Irene went into a falsetto ‘cadenza,’ as I call it. It was the blues, for sure.

To talk about music is completely inadequate—one can only encourage others to listen and decide for themselves. So, go listen here: Irene Jane Baker’s Soundcloud.

These are the songs I heard at Bluesbaren (note that one has a link to a performance on Youtube):

The State you Put me in
Waiting Blues
Peabody Blues
Beale Street Blues
My Juke Joint Song
There is Only You (A Tribute to Elvis)
Nashville Skyline River Crest
Love Song
Riverside Hotel Country Song
Walkin’ out that Door
Call and Response/Lemonhead
Doc from Zagreb

Currently scheduled performances:

Friday, 28 October at El Bocado, Axelsberg
Friday, 13 January at Bluesbaren, Stockholm

Look for a performance of ‘Lone Star Blues’ with Irene Jane Baker and ‘Red’ Mike Eriksson in your neighborhood.


“Warmin’ up the Strings” 




Posted in American Classical/Contemporary Music, Blues, Jazz & Big Band Music, Music, Stockholm, Sweden | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Transcendent Experience

12715617_10153965844523914_2849377058625978738_nA few months ago the Stockholm International Rotary Club presented an unusual program, featuring a young artist and his music: Hugo Ticciati, violinist and leader of a new musical group in Sweden, “O/Modernt” (not/modern).

Hugo’s enthusiasm for his music and his musical projects, and his seemingly effortless mastery of the violin, made an indelible mark on my consciousness, so I have been alert to an opportunity to experience O/Modernt. The moment came last Sunday in a performance of chamber music at Stockholm’s Musikaliska, a “musical palace built in 1878”.

The program, Folklore, Fåglar, & Evigheit (“Folklore, Birds & Eternity”) was performed with four instruments:

Cello, Johannes Rostano
Clarinet, Chistoffer Sundqvist
Piano, Alasdair Beatson
Violin, Hugo Picciati

Before I get into the details and commentary, here is the source of the energy that is driving the writing of this article: I was blown away by the performance of the major piece, presented during the second part of the program.

The program, first part

Igor Stravinsky, L’Histoire du Soldat (“The History of a Soldier”, for clarinet, piano and violin)

“… (F)ull of the wit and humor of Stravinsky. The violin is guttural and raw, while the clarinet seems to have an erratic will of its own, often breaking in at ‘inappropriate’ moments and interrupting the violin. The piano acts as a combination of the rhythm section and a piano in a ‘honky tonk’ bar. The rhythms are always shifting and changing, and the music incorporates elements of jazz, Viennese waltz, and ragtime.” (Source)

Béla Bartók, Selected Duos from Opus 98 (for piano and violin)

“…(A)ll songs and dances included in this series are based on folk music from many Eastern Europe countries, but harmonic and rhythmic freedom is evident throughout the whole piece.” (Source). Although written for two violins, these duos were performed by one violin and the piano.

Béla Bartók, Romanian Folk Dances (for piano and violin)

These are six short dances based on folk tunes from Transylvania.

Comments on First Part

The first two offerings were unfamiliar, and not pleasant to my ear. This is not an unusual reaction to some music of these two composers; and, my ears do not function perfectly. The performers were properly energetic for the nature of the music, and seemed completely attuned to each other.

The third offering was one of my favorite sets of short pieces. I often play recordings of them. They are also arranged for orchestra which gives them a larger ‘appearance,’ but I prefer the two instruments and these were played as well as any that I’ve heard.

The program, second part

Olivier Messiaen, Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)
Where to start? This is one the moments when I become aware, as a writer, how inadequate words are, after all. This is the bane of us (metaphorically) ink-stained wretches, but we are compelled by our natures to try, even if our efforts bring us ignominy and vilification.


Olivier Messiaen, 1908 – 1992

We must begin with the composer Olivier Messiaen, an extraordinary man. He was an organist, and an ornithologist as well as a composer. He wandered forests, writing pad in hand, recording the songs of birds which he would incorporate into his music. As the bio under the previous link details, he was also influenced in his music by his Catholic faith and by Indonesian, Japanese and ancient Greek music. Modern western musical influences include the composers Debussy, Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky among others. Other influences include Bryce Canyon in Utah, and the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Put all these together in your brain, then add considerations of tone, color, rhythm, harmony, instrumentation—all uniquely employed by Messiaen—and you will have some foundation for understanding the tasks of the musicians in interpreting his music.

The ‘quartet’ in the name of the piece refers to the number of the musicians, not the form of the music. There are eight sections, the names of which I record here in English, rather than the original French:

  1. Liturgy of crystal
  2. Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of time
  3. Abyss of birds (for solo clarinet)
  4. Interlude (for violin, cello, and clarinet)
  5. Praise to the eternity of Jesus (for cello and piano)
  6. Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets
  7. Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time
  8. Praise to the immortality of Jesus (for violin and piano)

Now to the words…

Imagine each of the eight pieces as beginning with a group of people entering into a prayer circle. They prepare by quietly sitting, all but the pianist facing each other, resting quietly until the musician with the lead instrument for the set gives a subtle signal to the others that he is ready to begin. They begin.

When the set is over, the last musician(s) to play slowly disengage(s) from the performance, seeming to enter a contemplative state. All the others are silent and motionless as well. After about fifteen seconds they awake and prepare for performance of the next set, as described above.

After the last set, the violinist slowly lifted his bow from his instrument, allowing it to flow gently toward the music stand and, finally, touch it, resting there for more seconds as the others remained as if performing Zazen.

Finally someone turned up the lights and we knew it was time to offer enthusiastic applause, in raucous contrast to the mood of the piece just performed.

(The following are translated quotations from Messiaen’s Preface to the score. Source.)

41oczoCrdqL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_1. Between three and four in the morning, the awakening of birds: a solo blackbird or nightingale improvises, surrounded by a shimmer of sound, by a halo of trills lost very high in the trees. Transpose this onto a religious plane and you have the harmonious silence of Heaven.

2. The first and third parts (very short) evoke the power of this mighty angel, a rainbow upon his head and clothed with a cloud, who sets one foot on the sea and one foot on the earth. In the middle section are the impalpable harmonies of heaven. In the piano, sweet cascades of blue-orange chords, enclosing in their distant chimes the almost plainchant song of the violin and cello.

3. The abyss is Time with its sadness, its weariness. The birds are the opposite to Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant songs.

4. Scherzo, of a more individual character than the other movements, but linked to them nevertheless by certain melodic recollections.

5. Jesus is considered here as the Word. A broad phrase, “infinitely slow”, on the cello, magnifies with love and reverence the eternity of the Word, powerful and gentle, “whose time never runs out”. The melody stretches majestically into a kind of gentle, regal distance. “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

6. Rhythmically, the most characteristic piece of the series. The four instruments in unison imitate gongs and trumpets (the first six trumpets of the Apocalypse followed by various disasters, the trumpet of the seventh angel announcing consummation of the mystery of God) Use of added values, of augmented or diminished rhythms, of non-retrogradable rhythms. Music of stone, formidable granite sound; irresistible movement of steel, huge blocks of purple rage, icy drunkenness. Hear especially all the terrible fortissimo of the augmentation of the theme and changes of register of its different notes, towards the end of the piece.

7. Recurring here are certain passages from the second movement. The angel appears in full force, especially the rainbow that covers him (the rainbow, symbol of peace, wisdom, and all luminescent and sonorous vibration). – In my dreams, I hear and see ordered chords and melodies, known colors and shapes; then, after this transitional stage, I pass through the unreal and suffer, with ecstasy, a tournament; a roundabout compenetration of superhuman sounds and colors. These swords of fire, this blue-orange lava, these sudden stars: there is the tangle, there are the rainbows!

8. Large violin solo, counterpart to the violoncello solo of the 5th movement. Why this second eulogy? It is especially aimed at second aspect of Jesus, Jesus the Man, the Word made flesh, immortally risen for our communication of his life. It is all love. Its slow ascent to the acutely extreme is the ascent of man to his god, the child of God to his Father, the being made divine towards Paradise.

(End of quotations)


See what I did there? I avoided giving my own inadequate words in favor of those by the composer!

Nonetheless, I have to say further that this was a transcendent experience, due in equal measure to the God-given talents of the composer and of the four musicians.

Here is where you can see members of O/Modernt in the performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, on Youtube.


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Ah, Stockholm, I grow to appreciate you ever more

I have recently discovered yet another library in the City of Stockholm: Musik och Teater Biblioteket. From the English version of their web page:

“Open to everyone – with great collections, sheet music for all instrumentations to loan, and literature and magazines about music, theatre, and dance. 100,000 works of sheet music to download, and a great number of books, sheet music and plays to take part of.”

ScreenHunter_375 Feb. 13 12.23

I found out about this library by querying the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, looking for a book about Johannes Brahms. They promptly referred me to the library, a separate but collaborating organization. The building is located next to Bonniers Konsthall (art gallery), a short walk from the Sankt Eriksplan subway station (Green Line).

I quickly obtained a library card (no charge) and began looking for books on Brahms. Despite there being much material on display for browsing and borrowing, the bulk of the available material was stored elsewhere in the building. The catalog was available via computer station, where I found the call letters of the books I wanted. I gave these to the librarian at the front desk, and she ordered them for me, to be collected on the day following.

poulencBefore leaving, I wandered a bit and found music CDs and DVDs, an unlimited number of which I could immediately borrow ( I borrowed three). I also found and borrowed a new book about Francis Poulenc, one of my favorite composers, which lead me to writing about him here. First, a brief description of his music:

Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was the leading composer of Les Six, the French group devoted to turning music away from Impressionism, formality, and intellectualism. He wrote in a direct and tuneful manner, often juxtaposing the witty and ironic with the sentimental or melancholy. He heavily favored diatonic and modal textures over chromatic writing. His music also shows many elements of pandiatonicism, introduced around 1920 by Stravinsky, whose influence can be heard in some of Poulenc’s compositions, such as the religious choral work, Gloria. Poulenc is regarded as one of the most important twentieth century composers of religious music, and in the realm of the French art song he is also a major voice of his time. Poulenc was also a pianist of considerable ability. (Source)

The book is “Francis Poulenc, Articles and Interviews: Notes from the Heart.” Here are excerpts from the review under the previous link:

This volume appears on the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of Francis Poulenc’s death (1899-1963)… Despite Poulenc’s popularity among performers and audiences–he is the most-performed composer of Jean Cocteau’s group Les Six–Poulenc has yet to receive the level of musicological attention, in English or French, that has been bestowed upon his compatriots Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Olivier Messiaen… This volume is divided into seven sections according to the type of source: “Articles”; “Critical Articles and Reviews”; “Contributions to Works by Others”; “Response to a Survey”; “Lectures”; “Interviews”; and “Interviews with Claude Rostand.”

Even in translation from the French, Poulenc’s writings are highly entertaining, both witty and informative. His analyses and commentary on modern/contemporary music and its critics provide a depth of understanding which now enhances my appreciation, not only of his music, but of the others he mentions, especially Stravinsky and Messiaen. Which leads me to the anecdote in his article on pp. 31-32, ‘Long Live Stravinsky!’, from Le Figaro, 7 April 1945, with a prologue by the editor:

After the Liberation (French liberation from the Nazis), French Radio broadcast Stravinsky’s complete works (in which Poulenc took part, and conducted by Manuel Rosenthal)…  But on 15 March, Stravinsky’s Four Norwegian Moods were whistled at… by some of Messiaen’s pupils.. Also, Stravinsky’s Danses concertantes… had been greeted with protests by these same young musicians. André Jolivet took up his pen to denounce the importance given to Stravinsky in these concerts. Poulenc replied in the following article:

“Incredible as it may seem, I am having, in 1945, to take up my pen to defend Igor Stravinsky, because there is currently, as in the great days of The Rite of Spring, a Stravinsky scandal.

Only… the detractors of today no longer belong… to the musical Right, but to a pseudo-Left made up of a number of the young and, what is more serious, pseudo-young who owe the whole of the light, modernistic varnish that covers their works entirely to the researches of Stravinsky of 1913 which he himself has already left behind.

For truly young composers to be turning their backs on The Rite, as we once turned our backs on Debussyism and Ravelism: bravo! But this is not the case here… One could imagine a Strauss vs Stravinsky combat on the lines of the earlier battle between Debussy and Wagner, but when it’s a question of detractors of this stamp, I can only think of little pugs in the public gardens who cock their legs against the plinths of the statues…

You may be sure I should not have attached the slightest importance to these yappings if there were not the possible repercussion that they might create a misunderstanding around a first-class composer whom I admire profoundly: Olivier Messiaen.”

The article goes on, his rapier wit slicing the miscreants. In a footnote the editor states:

Messiaen thanked Poulenc for his article on 19 April. He also tried to calm the situation in an article of 16 May in the review Volontés. Furthermore, he had gone backstage after the demonstration in the theater… to apologize to (conductor) Rosenthal  for the behaviour of his students—and apology that Rosenthal later said he had accepted.

Along with an anecdotal history of the development of music in the 20th Century, the book is filled with small but important, or at least entertaining, incidents hidden from general view, all of which enhance one’s appreciation for the composers and musicians mentioned, especially Francis Poulenc.

Here is a sampling of his music, of which I have copies:

Sextet for piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn

Sonata For Clarinet And Piano

Sonata for flute and piano

For those who have not yet have experienced Olivier Messiaen, here is one of several pieces of his I have in my collection:

Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the end of Time)



Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971) / Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992)

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A Satisfying Concert, with a Fine Finnish…

… conductor, that is.

The concert was at Konserthuset in downtown Stockholm, where the annual Nobel Prize concerts are held. Vasil, his daughter Jeanette, and I attended primarily to hear a performance of the first piano concerto of Peter Tchaikovsky.

Susanna Mälkki, Conductor

Susanna Mälkki, Conductor

There are occasions when the program’s conductor will be the main draw. Now that I have had the pleasure of experiencing the musical leadership of conductor Susanna Mälkki, I resolve to attend more of her concerts when I’m able.

After the concert I consulted the Internet to learn about Ms Mälkki. I was almost shocked to learn that she is 46 years of age, my having perceived her as at least ten years younger due to her vigorous, almost balletic conducting style. Aside from her physical attributes, her leadership of the orchestra was full and complete—a master. Her biography will appear at the end of this article.

Now to the program.

Jukka Tiensuu, Composer

Jukka Tiensuu, Composer

The first offering was a contemporary piece by Jukka Tiensuu, a  Finnish composer, harpsichordist, pianist and  conductor: “Alma III: Soma”. This piece and a related one are described by Grammophone as “fantasias-cum-tone poems, their forms determined by unstated expressive intents. They exhibit Tiensuu’s trademark rhythmic vitality and brilliant orchestration.” My best comment is that it seemed like program music for a horror/suspense film. It was alternately boomingly loud, and delicately tinkly. Vasil said, simply, “it was too loud.”

However, Ms Mälkki’s leadership in performing this difficult and peculiar piece gave us an immediate appreciation of her talents and expertise. The piece is written to last eight minutes, thirty seconds.

Eva’s son, Leo, was also at this concert. He later wrote me: “I really liked the piece by Tiensuu which I hadn’t heard before. My friend thought it was too frightening, but I actually found some humor in it.”

My interpretation of the audience’s warm reception, after the piece ended, was to signify appreciation for the bravery of the conductor and the musicians. It took great skill in keeping the piece from appearing to be merely chaotic, rather than purposeful. Ms Mälkki’s firm grasp of the music and of the orchestra, demonstrated in her bold and vigorous movements on the podium, was awe-inspiring.

It took some time to move the stations of many musicians away from the front of the stage to allow an elevator to give birth to a grand piano, stationed below. We were seated in row three where we were able to directly see the keyboard and, eventually, the pianist’s shoulders, arms, hands and fingers, for which privilege we had to pay quite a bit. It was well worth it.

 Inon Barnatan, pianist

Inon Barnatan, pianist

The pianist was Inon Barnatan. He walked briskly from the wings, closely followed by the conductor, both taking their respective positions with brief bows to the audience. After some adjustments to the piano stool, he began playing without further hesitation.

The piece begins with a quintessentially romantic theme and treatment, with both piano and orchestra participating. I have heard this piece via recording and radio many times since childhood, and I remembered that the beginning theme was borrowed by a popular song, “Tonight We Love”, in the early 1940s when I was first awakened to music.

As the first movement progressed, with grand cadenzas ranging fully over the keyboard, I gave myself over to it, making few notes. The few included that this movement seemed like a love duet between the orchestra and piano, with call and response in some parts. This movement is almost nineteen minutes long and seemed like a whole piece in itself. The next two movements were to be a bonus.

I marveled at how, in the first place, a composer could even create the sometimes seemingly impossible features of this music, much less have the pianist follow the composer’s intent. Listening to recorded music attenuates one’s ability to realize such things. I was simply in awe of the whole production.

Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

The great cadenzas reminded me of when Vasil and I attended a concert of Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto at Berwaldhallen last year. I wondered if Tchaikovsky may have influenced Rachmaninoff. This is why we have the Internet—to check upon such wonderments:

Rachmaninoff was slightly over 12 when he met Tchaikovsky… He said: “There is a great future in store for that little boy!”

Rachmaninoff (wrote) the “Elegiac trio in memory of a great artist,” A wonderful posthumous gift to a Master who had determined so much in his own life… (Source)

Mr Barnatan played his piano with the greatest of authority, seeming almost to challenge the composer to write something he couldn’t play, and with soul as well as with his technique.

The second movement felt often as a pastorale, poignant, full of memories. The rapport between the conductor and pianist was evident as they exchanges glances to cue each other. I can’t imagine how he couldn’t have been smitten by her charming smile. I certainly was.

The third movement had much syncopation and very lively. Mr Bartanan was obviously having a good time. The finale was highly romantic and emotional, causing my eyes to mist up. I startled the person to my right by my spontaneous huzzah, a quarter-second after the final note. Others had similar reactions.

The encore was a solo piece, possibly Tchaikovsky, possibly Liszt or Brahms, a sort of impromptu–mostly delicate and quiet, with some melodic outbursts.

Mr Barnatan was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009, and was recently named the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Association, a three-season appointment. Barnatan’s recorded album Darknesse Visible was named one of the “Best of 2012” by the New York Times.

BBC Music magazine, in a review of his 2013 recording of Schubert’s late sonatas, wrote: “this is superior playing, in which penetrating musicianship, compelling interpretive insight and elegant pianism achieve near perfect equilibrium.”

Mr Barnatan is only thirty-six years old. I look forward to attending more of his concerts over the years.

The paus (intermission).

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy

Debussy’s Images for orchestra was the final offering for the evening. I have often heard this piece, but remember only the parts where an Iberian theme predominates. Here is about Images:

The three works which collectively form Claude Debussy’s Images for orchestra … are intended to be performed in succession, (but are) frequently heard independently of one another, especially the second, “Iberia,” which remains among the composer’s most frequently played orchestral works.

“Gigues” was written from 1909-1912, and has a decidedly English flavor. Debussy quotes the English folk tune “The Keel Row” throughout as the tune ebbs and swirls in the colored orchestral texture, surfacing in one instrument, fading back into the texture, and then resurfacing on another instrument… A plaintive tone predominates; the few hints of joyfulness are clearly the product of wistful fantasy.

The central “Iberia” (1905-1908), itself divided into three movements, is more outgoing in nature… The celebratory yet undeniably aristocratic atmosphere of “Iberia” owes a great deal to the earlier Fêtes from the Nocturnes, which rides the same fine line between the vernacular and the high-minded. Debussy’s score even calls for guitars and castanets, a remarkable request at that time. There is a decadent flavor to “Parfums de la nuit,” whose nocturnal activities form the center of the piece… The last movement of “Iberia” is kaleidoscopic in feel;…(t)he raw exuberance of a Spanish celebration drives the music to heights of a strained passion, and at times seems to be an attempt to conceal a great melancholy.

The last of the Images, “Rondes de printemps,” was composed between 1905 and 1909. It is a product of the same turn-of-the century French obsession with spring that encouraged Diaghilev to commission Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps…. Like “Gigues,” “Rondes de printemps” is introspective and nostalgic, short on activity and long on tone-color. Debussy spreads color throughout the ensemble in a masterly, and deceptively simple display of orchestration, rather than focusing on a single instrument as he did in “Gigues. (Source).

This was a pleasant piece to bring us into a less excited place from where the piano concerto left us.

Susanna Mälkki was born in Helsinki, Finland, 13 March 1969. She is Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon. Previously, she was Music Director of the Ensemble InterContemporain of Paris, and Artistic Director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Norway.

Susanna Mälkki

Susanna Mälkki

As a guest conductor at the highest level in both Europe and North America, Mälkki’s recent highlights include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra Sinfonica della Scala, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai. Notable recent debuts include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo…

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 Orchestra in Sweden. 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. (Source).

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