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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Minnesota Orchestra celebrates Finland's Centennial in Finnish-themed concerts, September 22 and 23

Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducts the Orchestra in music by three Finnish composers: Kalevi Aho, Jaakko Kuusisto and Jean Sibelius 

Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä performs Kuusisto’s Violin Concerto

Orchestra Hall lobby serves as site for a Finnish Expo and marketplace

On September 22 and 23, Finnish Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra in all-Finnish concerts celebrating 100 years of Finland’s independence. The first half of the concert features two works performed by the same musicians for whom they were originally written. Minea, by Kalevi Aho, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra and premiered in 2009, opens the concerts and is followed by Jaakko Kuusisto’s Violin Concerto, a work that was inspired by Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä, who performs the solo role in these concerts. Following intermission, the Orchestra plays one of Sibelius’ most popular compositions, his Second Symphony.

The same weekend as the concerts, Orchestra Hall serves as one of the main locations for FinnFest USA 2017, an annual Finnish-American heritage festival which originated in Minneapolis in 1983. The festival features seminars and forums which take place in and around Orchestra Hall and other Minneapolis venues, plus a tori community marketplace for vendors, artists and community groups throughout the Orchestra Hall lobby and on Peavey Plaza.

Attending both the festival and Minnesota Orchestra performance on Friday are Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio. Niinistö’s office announced the trip earlier this month.            

Following the Saturday evening concert, Orchestra musicians, with special guests Osmo Vänskä on clarinet and Elina Vähälä on violin, will perform a Chamber Music NightCap concert in the Orchestra Hall auditorium at 10:30 p.m. The performance features two works by Sibelius: his Overture in F minor for Brass Septet and En Saga, arranged for chamber ensemble by Jaakko Kuusisto. A separate ticket is required for this event. 

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are performed at the ensemble’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, September 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 23, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. Tickets are available online at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.

Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director, is renowned internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. In addition to the Orchestra’s May 2015 tour to Cuba, he has led the Orchestra on five major European tours, the most recent of which took place in August 2016, as well as regular tours to communities across Minnesota. His recording projects with the Minnesota Orchestra have also met with great success, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies on the BIS Records label. Newly released in 2017 is their recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. As a guest conductor Vänskä has led all the major American and European orchestras. More:

Elina Vähälä, violin
Violinist Elina Vähälä, who was born in the U.S. and raised in Finland, made her orchestral debut with Lahti Symphony at age 12 and was later chosen by Osmo Vänskä as that orchestra’s “Young Master Soloist.” Since then, her career has continued to expand on the international stage, highlighted by appearances with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lahti, Turku Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony and Nashville Symphony. In addition, she has toured throughout the U.K., Finland, Germany, China, Korea and South America. In 2008 she was chosen to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, which was televised to a worldwide audience. With funding from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, she launched the Violin Academy, a masterclass-based educational project for selected, highly talented young Finnish violinists. More:,

Music from Finland’s Finest
In Kalevi Aho’s Minea, each instrument is given a chance to shine as volume and tempo increase throughout. Adding flavor are percussion instruments and rhythms from non-Western cultures.

Virtuoso violinist Jaakko Kuusisto was inspired by his friend Elina Vähälä’s personality and brilliant musical talents when he composed his Violin Concerto, a dazzling journey of athleticism and lyricism.

From an assortment of seemingly disjointed elements, Sibelius creates an imposing mosaic in his Second Symphony. One fascinating feature of the Finale: a wistful melody played over running eighth-notes, written in memory of the composer’s sister-in-law.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Friday, September 22, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, September 23, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä
, conductor
Elina Vähälä, violin

AHO                                       Minea
J. KUUSISTO                       Violin Concerto
SIBELIUS                             Symphony No. 2

Tickets: $25 to $96


Individual tickets and subscription packages can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (Stage Door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lobby Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the skyway accessible Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662. 

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change. 

The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2017-18 season.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations 
(612) 371-5628 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
(612) 371-5625 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Emma Plehal

Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
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Isaac Risseeuw

Social Media and Content Coordinator
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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