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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Osmo Vänskä Conducts Mahler's Fourth and a World Premiere by James Stephenson in Minnesota Orchestra Season Finale

Vänskä conducts concerts of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, featuring soprano soloist Carolyn Sampson

Orchestra musicians R. Douglas Wright, Kari Sundström, Andrew Chappell and Steven Campbell perform the world premiere of James Stephenson’s Pillars

The Minnesota Orchestra’s 2017-18 classical season comes to a close with concerts on June 14, 15 and 16 at Orchestra Hall, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The Minnesota Orchestra’s low brass section—Principal Trombone R. Douglas Wright, trombone player Kari Sundström, bass trombone player Andrew Chappell and Principal Tuba Steven Campbell—is featured in American composer James Stephenson’s newest work Pillars, a concerto for low brass and orchestra that was crowd-funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Then the Orchestra and English soprano Carolyn Sampson, in her Minnesota Orchestra debut, perform Mahler’s serene and heavenly Fourth Symphony. In sessions the week after these performances, Vänskä and the Orchestra will record Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 for a future release on the BIS Records label.

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are held at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, June 14, 2018, at 11 a.m.; Friday, June 15, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, June 16, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. More information is available at and by phone at 612-371-5656.  For further purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Carolyn Sampson performs regularly at the BBC Proms and with orchestras such as the Bach Collegium Japan, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Vienna Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous orchestras in the U.S. She has also appeared with the English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Scottish Opera, Paris Opera, Lille Opera, Opéra de Montpellier and Opéra National du Rhin. Her extensive discography has earned recognition including multiple Gramophone Awards and nominations, and the Diapason D’Or. She was also nominated for Artist of the Year in the 2017 Gramophone Awards. More:

R. Douglas Wright, trombone
R. Douglas Wright has been the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal trombone since 1995. Among the major solo works he has performed here are Aho’s Symphony No. 9 for Trombone and Orchestra and the world premiere of Schwertsik’s Trombone Concerto, a work written for him. He has served as principal trombone of the Cleveland Orchestra, assistant principal trombone of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, second trombone of the Boston Pops Orchestra and principal trombone of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and he was a member of the Empire Brass Quintet.

Kari Sundström, trombone
A native of Sahalahti, Finland, Kari Sundström joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1996 after having been a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Per Brevig. From 1990 to 1995 he performed as a member of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland and served as professor of trombone at the Tampere Conservatory. In 1991 he was named Finland’s brass player of the year. 

Andrew Chappell, bass trombone
Andrew Chappell joined the Minnesota Orchestra as bass trombonist in 2014 after serving as bass trombonist of the Rochester Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera and New World Symphony. He has performed with orchestras including the Houston Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Nörkopping Symphony, Toronto Symphony and National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

Steven Campbell, tuba
Steven Campbell has been featured as soloist several times since joining the Minnesota Orchestra as principal tuba in 2005. This season he was featured as soloist in Young People’s and Family Concerts performing Daugherty’s Reflections on the Mississippi and Kling’s The Elephant and the Fly. Before arriving in Minnesota, he performed with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras and was a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Vermont Symphony.

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. In March 2018 the Orchestra released its newest album, featuring Mahler’s Sixth Symphony—part of a Mahler series that began with a Grammy-nominated Fifth Symphony recording.


Four Low Brass and a Fourth Symphony
James Stephenson’s newly-composed Pillars was built out of a unique combination of influences: the composer’s vivid memories of his late friend, trombonist Bill Zehfuss; a particularly exciting Minnesota Orchestra performance of music by Ginastera; and Stephenson’s own experiences playing Mahler symphonies in professional orchestras.

Mahler’s sunny Fourth Symphony begins with a discourse on a simple violin tune and ends with a child’s view of heaven, delivered by a soprano. A hint of darkness comes in the second movement, where death’s fiddle leads a beguiling waltz; the ensuing Adagio is among the composer’s finest slow movements.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Thursday, June 14, 2018, 11 a.m. (Coffee Concert) / Orchestra Hall
Friday, June 15, 2018, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä
, conductor
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
R. Douglas Wright, trombone
Kari Sundström, trombone
Andrew Chappell, bass trombone
Steven Campbell, tuba 

STEPHENSON            Pillars  [World Premiere]
MAHLER                    Symphony No. 4

Tickets: $25 to $96

OH+ Event
Free Pre-Concert Conversations with Director of Live at Orchestra Hall Grant Meachum, composer James M. Stephenson and Principal Trombone R. Douglas Wright on Thursday, June 14, at 10:15 p.m. in the Auditorium; and with Phillip Gainsley and President/CEO Kevin Smith in the Auditorium on Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, at 6:55 p.m.

For more information about OH+, please visit


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 
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Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
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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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Showcase Concert Magazine, June 2019  

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