Music Director Osmo Vanska Extends Contract With Minnesota Orchestra

Vänskä will lead the Minnesota Orchestra through its 2014-15 season

September 24, 2009 -- The Minnesota Orchestral Association (MOA) announced today that Music Director Osmo Vänskä has signed a new four-year contract, extending his leadership through the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2014-15 season.

“Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have reached great heights over the last six years,” said Jack W. Eugster, Chair of the MOA Board. “We are delighted that Osmo will continue to provide artistic leadership and vision for the Minnesota Orchestra through its 112th concert season.”

“When I joined the Orchestra in 2003,” said Mr. Vänskä, “I was impressed by the musicians’ desire to work hard every day. I still appreciate this quality in the Minnesota Orchestra very much—and in its Board and staff—but now we also know and trust each other more, and this makes our work together stronger. We have more that we would like to achieve, and I’m happy to put down deeper roots in the Twin Cities, which is a very good place to live and to play music.”

Under the terms of the new agreement, Mr. Vänskä will conduct the Orchestra an average of 13 weeks across each of the four seasons. Mr. Vänskä initially joined the Orchestra in its 2003-04 season with a four-year contract. His contract was renewed for a second term of four years beginning with the 2007-08 season.

“Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have forged an outstanding partnership over six seasons, achieving significant artistic success at home and raising the Orchestra’s profile abroad,” said President and CEO Michael Henson. “Growing this partnership for an additional four years places our organization in an excellent position, and we are very pleased to have Osmo on board to conduct the inaugural concert of a renovated and expanded Orchestra Hall in 2012.”

“We are very proud of the Orchestra’s achievements during Osmo’s tenure in Minnesota : the Beethoven Symphony recordings, the European tours and our debut at the BBC Proms, not to mention the success of our core weekly performances at Orchestra Hall. Osmo has brought the Minnesota Orchestra significant exposure at the highest ranks of the symphonic world, and we look forward to continued artistic successes in our partnership going forward.” -Acting Associate Principal Bass David Williamson, chair of the Minnesota Orchestra Members Committee

Under Mr. Vänskä’s leadership, the Orchestra undertook programming explorations of Leonard Bernstein, Anton Bruckner and Carl Nielsen; strengthened its long collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio to produce award-winning regional, national and international broadcasts; and made annual appearances at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center. Originally trained as a clarinetist, Mr. Vänskä picked up his instrument again for the Orchestra’s 2005 Sommerfest and has since performed in chamber ensembles across the Twin Cities, at Napa Valley ’s Music in the Vineyards, the Grand Teton Music Festival and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

Highlights of Mr. Vänskä’s upcoming seventh season in Minnesota include performances of Sibelius’ epic Kullervo in Orchestra Hall and at Carnegie Hall, a film music festival, and world premieres of commissioned works by Kalevi Aho, Sally Beamish and Manuel Sosa.

On the recording front, Mr. Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will welcome the winter release of an album of Bruckner’s Fourth (Romantic) Symphony by BIS ; conclude a project to make live, in-concert recordings of Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Concert Fantasia with Stephen Hough, due for release by Hyperion Records in spring 2010; and continue a five-year initiative launched last season, to record all the Beethoven piano concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin for BIS .

Osmo Vänskä is the tenth music director in the history of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was named 2005 “Conductor of the Year” by Musical America and in 2008 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota and a Champion of New Music Award from the American Composers Forum, the latter for his work in promoting the work of contemporary composers. He is the subject of a 2009 biography released by Kirk House Publishers, Osmo Vänskä: Orchestra Builder.

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