Maestro stays: Osmo makes it 19 years with Minnesota

Maestro stays: Osmo makes it 19 years with Minnesota


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2017

Music director Osmo Vänskä has signed another three-year extension to his contract with Minnesota Orchestra. He has signed on until August 2022, cnducting at least 12 weeks each season.

That will be 19 winters in Minnesota.



  • Ungeheuer says:

    Good for him but I never understood the American classical music media fixation with Vänskä. It’s not as if he’s moved the needle interpretatively on anything except maybe Sibelius. And even there there’s plenty of competition.

    • Bruce says:

      His Beethoven cycle was very well received. Also, he made headlines (maybe even history) here by publicly taking sides with the musicians during their lockout. Conductors normally follow the advice of their managers during labor disputes: stay out of town and keep silent until the whole thing is settled. That earned him a lot of good will with the public in Minneapolis, as well as the musicians of the orchestra. (And also with musicians of other orchestras, who wish we they had such a supportive music director.)

      • Olassus says:

        … and of course he should be, but probably is not, allowed to guest with some of those admiring other orchestras.

        • Bruce says:

          Ha ha ha — I said the musicians of those other orchestras. Several members of the Minnesota Orchestra board did not want to let him come back because they considered his actions in support of the musicians “disloyal.” Conductors, too, are not always on the side of the musicians when their orchestra is in a dispute (even if they are usually too circumspect to say so in public). I don’t suppose his actions earned him many friends among the decision makers of American orchestras.

    • Jean says:

      Vänskä is just starting a new Mahler cycle, which might be worth checking. And it’s not just about Minnesota; it should also be noted that Osmo Vänskä had a major role in changing a small “provincial” symphony orchestra like the Lahti Symphony Orchestra into a world-class orchestra that has sold over 500’000 Sibelius recordings with him. Osmo Vänskä had a long way to go.

  • Ed Makowski says:

    Check out his Beethoven cycle.

  • NYMike says:

    Whatever might be said about Vänskä’s musicianship, there’s no doubt about his synergy with the MO. Their last concert @ Carnegie Hall was sensational.

  • Ed Makowski says:

    BIS just released the Vanska/Minnesota Mahler 5th.

  • Harold Lewis says:

    Don’t forget that before taking up his work in Minnesota, Vanska was Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Those who make these appointments at the BBC rarely if ever make a bad decision. In my view being appointed Chief Conductor or Assistant Chief Conductor of one of the BBC regional orchestras is an absolutely reliable endorsement of musicianship.

  • Jacqueline says:

    That’s too long.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    It has not been that easy for the Minnesota Orchestra to get a top-flight conductor, let alone one who shares values with the population, and one they can identify with, as there are many Finns there, as well as Scandinavians. Too often they have gotten stuck with someone who stays far too long. The management also failed to pay top artists to perform with them, thus affecting the musical education of a few generations. They are also stuck with a faulty concert hall. So they are lucky to have found such synergy. The last conductor to have such excitement there was Klaus Tennstedt. This is one of the finest, most dedicated orchestras in the country, and only now are they not having to struggle for recognition as such.