Emotional video and stills from Vänska’s farewell

Emotional video and stills from Vänska’s farewell


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2013

End of the road for Minnesota. Watch here. And here. UPDATE: And the live soundtrack here.vanska ax


Photo: Judy Griesedieck for MPR News


  • This isn’t just another sad passing from the scene with mainly local implications. This is as if the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell declared bankruptcy in 1967 or Philadelphia under Stokowski in the mid-1920s. Perfect conductor/orchestra marriages like this are rare enough as it is, at least in America, and the world beyond the Twin Cities has, apparently, lost a very large precious something.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Totally agree. From the present point of view it is hard to see how the conditions can be restored for the MO musicians to come back to the level and stature they achieved until recently.

      It’s very hard to look at the musicians’ eyes in this clip.

  • A. Penner says:

    On the MPR site, I hope the musicians get used to image #5 because that will be their new board of directors, endowment money, and their fundraising machine.

  • I recorded the MPR internet stream last night. Vanska’s comments and encore are available now: http://youtu.be/T9TZjLjE47w

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Thank you for posting this. Deeply moving.

    • Joanna J Olsen says:

      Yes, thank you for bootlegging the concert. I’m sure the musicians who are hard up for money as it is really appreciate it.

      • Sarah says:

        Oh please. They want the word to get out. If there ends up being a commercial recording, I am sure sales will not suffer.nn

      • NYCG says:

        Joanna– this recording moved me, someone who has no ties to Minnesota or the orchestra, to donate to the Musicians. I can only hope that it will have the same effect on others (and perhaps serve as a wake-up call to people who are in the position to do more).

      • David H. says:

        Your comment is out of place. His speech and the last encore are a document of public interest and as such “fair use” of a short excerpt of the online stream is totally justified. The musicians lose nothing.

      • I happen to be friends with many of the musicians. This recording in no way offends them, nor should it you either.

  • Sarah says:

    This was a gorgeous concert and such a gift. Mr. Ax’s fingers danced over the keys (I had a great view) in two concertos. We all concentrated on the music, until the Stravinsky when the facades started to slip. Several of the musicians had red faces, trying not to cry. “Valse Triste” was the “tristest” it could be. But as hard as it was for the audience, it must have been fifty times harder for the musicians. Afterwards, they were out in the lobby mingling with the audience. I couldn’t say anything because by then it was my time to cry. I’m even tearing up now, remembering it.

    • Karen Sandberg says:

      Sarah – that was exactly how I saw it. I was first row in 2nd tier. The emotion -grief and sadness – was palpable from up there. I’m still tearing up today (Sunday). Just wish there were a way through all this.

  • “I gave you my blood” had said Mitropoulos in his farewell speech to this same orchestra upon his appointment as the NYPO’s director in 1949.

  • Thomas Thoreson says:

    Gosh, it’s so heartbreaking to see a conductor leave.

  • ML says:

    My tears were flowing when I was listening to the live streaming in front of my computer, even though I am hundreds of miles away in Chicago. What an unnecessary loss!!

  • A Friend says:

    The musicians continue to move forward producing their own concert series for a grateful audience.

    Osmo rightly perceives the danger as the second year of the lockout commences. His concerns have been disregarded by Jon Campbell, Richard Davis, and Michael Henson who brought the negotiations to brinkmanship and persuaded the rest of the Board one year ago that this was the right course of action.

    It’s surprising no one of the Board has been uncomfortable enough with the course of action they’ve chosen to A. resign; B. influence others on the Board to grasp the necessity of extending an olive branch for a “cease fire; or C. that if they have any hope of a reapprochement they must identify a new president for the organization — soon.

    • MacroV says:

      Indeed. I continue to be astonished by this whole fiasco. It’s inconceivable to me that the board of the Chicago Symphony or Cleveland Orchestra would ever do what has happened in Minnesota – or that a President/Executive Director like Deborah Rutter or Gary Hanson would ever every stay around to let it happen on their watch. If Michael Henson had any shred of decency or integrity, he’d have resigned rather than be a part of this.

      This just seems like such a betrayal of everything the good people and civic leaders of Minneapolis have ever worked for or achieved. Every orchestra and its board/management say they aspire to greatness; finally in Minnesota you had an orchestra that had long been really good, matched with a conductor musicians and public loved dearly, and all signs pointing to their becoming a legendary combination, one that had been going on for ten years already but clearly had much left to accomplish.

      Such a travesty, and what have they achieved? A loss of a music director who will be virtually impossible to replace for the foreseeable future, guest conductors unlikely to be attracted, the loss of many excellent musicians, and a poisonous atmosphere between musicians, board and management that will only be rectified by a big cleansing of the ranks (preferably of the latter two).

      There’s gotta be a Harvard Business School case study here.

    • Anon says:

      A Friend – but how would you know if (B) or (C) were happening?

  • Stereo says:

    Henson has no integrity,never had.