Vanska returns to lead Minnesota Orchestra
The Minnesota Orchestra will once again make music with Osmo Vanska.
The orchestra’s board of directors on Thursday gave Vanska a two-year contract that will have him lead at least 10 weeks of concerts for each of the next two seasons.
The 61-year-old native of Finland resigned in October after a decade as the orchestra’s music director -- and a year into a lockout of the musicians during bitter contract negotiations.
But when the 16-month lockout ended in January, rumors of Vanska’s return began circulating. And during its first post-lockout performances in February, the orchestra was greeted with shouts from the audience of "Bring back Osmo."
Meanwhile, Vanska had said he would like to come back if orchestra president and CEO Michael Henson stepped down. Last month, Henson said he would do just that, announcing he would resign in August -- a decision that led to the resignations of several other board members, too.
"Osmo Vanska led the Minnesota Orchestra to great heights during his previous tenure as music director, and we are happy to be able to reunite Osmo and the orchestra to deliver outstanding musical performances for our community and to extend their celebrated musical partnership," board chairman Gordon Sprenger said in a news release.
"We are delighted he is back."
The orchestra’s musicians offered similar praise.
"(We) are truly excited by the board’s decision to bring back Osmo as music director," they said in a statement. "This is a major step in rebuilding the trust and collaborative spirit within our organization as well as with our community.
"We very much look forward to further collaboration with Osmo, our board and our community to continue to build upon the Minnesota Orchestra’s 110-year legacy of artistic excellence."
Vanska will accept the same reduction in compensation as agreed to by musicians, according to the orchestra news release.
Vanska earned worldwide attention during his first decade with the Minnesota Orchestra, for performances at home and on the road, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, London’s BBC Proms and four European tours.
A five-disc project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies drew rave reviews. And in January, Vanska and the orchestra won a Grammy for best orchestral performance for their recording of Sibelius’ 1st and 4th symphonies.