Mariss Jansons steps down from Riga Jurmala Festival

Riga Jurmala Music Festival has announced Susanna Mälkki will replace Mariss Jansons for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s concerts this summer.

Latvian conductor Jansons is passing up on the music festival following advice from doctors to take a three-month restorative break. Susanna Mälkki, music director of Helsinki Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil), will replace Jansons for the opening weekend concerts on 19-21 July.

Held in the historic cities of Riga and Jurmala in Latvia, the summer festival will take place over four weekends throughout July, August and September and is fast becoming a platform for young talent from the Baltic region.

Managing director of the festival, Zane Culkstena, said: “On behalf of the festival’s team, and all Latvian classical music lovers, we wish a speedy and full recovery to Mariss Jansons. We are at the same time very thankful to Susanna Mälkki for agreeing to step in at the last minute. Her versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony and chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and opera houses around the world.”

Finnish-born Mälkki is a pioneer for female classical music conductors: she is the only female music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain since its creation in 1976 by Pierre Boulez and the first female principal guest conductor of the LA Phil since the position was established in 1981. Mälkki has been chief conductor of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HKO) for three seasons and served as principal guest conductor of Gulbenkian Orchestra from 2013-17.

The scheduled programme of works, with violinist Julian Rachlin and pianist Rudolf Buchbinder as soloists, will remain unchanged.