Showcase Sommerfest 2014 - page 12

osmo vänskä
Minnesota Orchestra Music Director
innish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director,
is recognized internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard,
contemporary and Nordic repertoires. He has led the Orchestra on four major
European tours—drawing rave reviews for performances at European music
festivals including the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival, and for appearances
at London’s Barbican Hall, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Vienna
Musikverein and the Berlin Philharmonie—as well as regular tours to communities
across Minnesota.
Vänskä’s recording projects with the Minnesota
Orchestra have also met with great success. In
January 2014 their recording of Sibelius’ First and
Fourth Symphonies won a Grammy Award for Best
Orchestral Performance; a year earlier their previous
album, Sibelius’ Second and Fifth Symphonies,
had received a Grammy nomination. These were
released by BIS, as were several other recent
CDs: two albums of Beethoven piano concertos
featuring Yevgeny Sudbin; a disc of Bruckner’s
Fourth Symphony; the oratorio
To Be Certain of the
, composed by Stephen Paulus with libretto
by Michael Dennis Browne; and a particularly
widely praised cycle of the complete Beethoven
symphonies, of which two discs—one of the Ninth
Symphony and one of the Second and Seventh—
received Grammy and Classic FM Gramophone award nominations, respectively.
Also acclaimed was a two-CD set featuring pianist Stephen Hough in live, in-concert
recordings of Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Concert Fantasia, on the Hyperion label.
As a guest conductor, Vänskä has received extraordinary praise for his work with
many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston and Chicago symphony
orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic,
Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,
Vienna Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony
Orchestra. He was recently appointed principal guest conductor of the Iceland
Symphony Orchestra, a post he will assume in fall 2014. He is also conductor laureate
of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, which, during two decades as music director, he
transformed into one of Finland’s flagship orchestras, attracting worldwide attention for
performances and for award-winning Sibelius recordings on the BIS label.
Vänskä began his music career as a clarinetist, holding major posts with the Helsinki
Philharmonic and the Turku Philharmonic. Since taking up the instrument again for
Sommerfest 2005 he has performed as clarinetist at Orchestra Hall, other Twin Cities
venues, the Grand Teton Festival in Wyoming and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New
York, where he also conducts regularly. His 2013-14 schedule includes engagements
with the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Israel Philharmonic and the
San Francisco, National, New World, Vienna, Bamberg, Singapore and Lahti symphony
orchestras. For more information, visit
Photo: Todd Buchanan
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