What’s Vanska doing, post-Minnesota? New music, that’s what

What’s Vanska doing, post-Minnesota? New music, that’s what


norman lebrecht

January 13, 2014

We’ve been reading rave reviews overnight of an Osmo Vanska concert in Geneva. It included one of his trademark Carl Nielsen symphonies and a new concerto by the exquisite French composer Pascal Dusapin – the kind of new-frontier music he would have struggled to squeeze past the custodians of Midwest culture. Review here (en francais).



  • Francois Dru says:

    Dear Norman. Just to say Mr. Vänskä will have his debut with the Orchestre National de Lyon next week. A great honour for our Orchestra. an amazing musical week in sight. Programme : R.Strauss, Don Juan – W.A. Mozart, Flute Concerto#1 (Jocelyn Aubrun, ONL’s principal) / A.Dvorak, New World Symphony

  • Sam says:

    Osmo programmed new music all the time in Minnesota, from Aho to Paulus to Tavener to Mazzoli to Rihm. It was the norm to have new music on MN Orch concerts, and there were no “custodians of Midwest culture” gasping in disapproval. Where do you get these ideas?

    • Contrary opinion aside, the popular belief is that the ‘classics’ sell better and fill the seats more. As a method to please-all-of-the-people-all-of-the-time, orchestras in the U.S. have taken on the safer habit of performing new works as openers, usually small in length, and chosen with considerable scrutiny that leans towards either the Romantic or the overtly sensational. Most of the orchestras like MN are just appeasing the contemporary community.

      I find the practice incredibly anti-artistic, and it’s one of the main reasons why I don’t miss the MN Orchestra at all.

      • Amy says:

        I am almost certain that it’s mutual, Jason.

      • Thank you, Jason for speaking for the entire “contemporary community” whatever the hell that is. Did you attend the concert with Martin Frost performing the Aho clarinet concerto? The audience went crazy. It was one of the most exciting pieces I’ve ever heard. I’ve attended numerous “Future Classics” concerts where at least a few of the pieces on each concert would get me to buy a ticket to hear them again. I’m hardly part of your “contemporary community” given that I am a big Mahler and Beethoven fan and love to play Bach and Schubert myself. I am kind of curious– Do you think there is an orchestra in the region that is meeting your high artistic standards?

  • Jeanne C. Fuchs (former Minnesotan) says:

    I love Amy’s comment! And don’t you also love the characterization of “squeezing past the custodians of Midwest culture”. They should be so lucky as to live in Mpls.!

  • The Helsinki press report Vanska is willing to consider returning to Minnesota. If you speak Finnish, check out:


    Briefly, all management has to do is ask, according to Vanska. I’m sure there is more involved than simply asking. No doubt, there will be underlying terms and agreements as there should be.