Susanna Mälkki

  • Pierre Boulez

    IN 2004, I was invited to conduct the Ensemble Intercontemporain at the Lucerne Festival, in Switzerland, and I was told that its formidable founder, Pierre Boulez, would be attending the concert. I had met him very briefly a few years earlier, but this was different, and it felt rather like an exam—all the more because everyone knew that the ensemble was then looking for a new music director. After the concert, which had ended with a performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s Secret Theatre (1984), Boulez finally appeared backstage, smiling. He congratulated me warmly and immediately started