Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Osmo Vänskä to return as Minnesota Orchestra music director

Conductor appointed to former leadership role for 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons


The Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors announced today that conductor Osmo Vänskä will return to the Minnesota Orchestra as its music director, leading at least 10 weeks of concerts for each of the next two seasons.

Board Chair Gordon Sprenger said, “Osmo Vänskä led the Minnesota Orchestra to great heights during his previous tenure as music director, and we are happy to be able to reunite Osmo and the Orchestra to deliver outstanding musical performances for our community and to extend their celebrated musical partnership. We are delighted he is back.” Vänskä began his tenure as music director in 2003 and resigned in October 2013, during the organization’s labor dispute.

Vänskä said, “I am very pleased to have this chance to rebuild the Vänskä/Minnesota Orchestra partnership, and I look forward to getting back to music-making with the players and together re-establishing our worldwide reputation for artistic excellence.”

Under the terms of the new two-year agreement, Vänskä will lead the Orchestra for a minimum of ten weeks in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and will accept the same reduction in compensation as agreed to by musicians.

The Musicians offered the following statement: “The musicians are truly excited by the board's decision to bring back Osmo as music director. This is a major step in rebuilding the trust and collaborative spirit within our organization as well as with our community. We very much look forward to further collaboration with Osmo, our Board, and our community to continue to build upon the Minnesota Orchestra's 110-year legacy of artistic excellence.”

Osmo Vänskä has long been recognized for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. During his Minnesota tenure, he has drawn acclaim for performances both at home and abroad, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, London’s BBC Proms, as well as four European Tours and tours around the state of Minnesota. A five-year, five-disc project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies drew superlative reviews, as have other recording projects including cycles of the Tchaikovsky piano concertos with Stephen Hough and Beethoven piano concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin.  His recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth symphonies with the Orchestra won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, a first for both Vänskä and the Orchestra. Vänskä began his career as a clarinetist, holding posts with the Helsinki and Turku Philharmonics. In 1988 he became music director of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra—which he transformed into one of Finland’s flagship orchestras. He has also served as music director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 2002.

The Minnesota Orchestra is recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras. Founded in 1903, it presents 150 concerts each year, with nearly 400,000 attending, and reaches more than 85,000 music lovers annually through its education programs. The Orchestra is heard through international tours and performances throughout Minnesota; an award-winning series of weekly radio broadcasts produced by Minnesota Public Radio, with many concerts subsequently heard on American Public Media’s national programs, SymphonyCast and Performance Today; and through its many recordings dating from the 1920s, including its Grammy Award-winning recording of Sibelius’ Symphonies No. 1 and 4.


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