BREAKING NEWS: Vanska's Back in Minnesota

Apr 24, 2014

When the 16-month lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra ended in January, the orchestra had no conductor. Music director Osmo Vanska,  whose conducting had propelled the orchestra to international fame, resigned last year in support of the musicians, and without him... well, what exactly was Plan B? It won't be needed, the music world learned gratefully yesterday afternoon: the Finnish maestro is back at the helm. Some reports:

Osmo Vanska, the once and present music director of the Minnesota Orchestra
Credit Greg Helgerson

  •  Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "The Minnesota Orchestra on Thursday took a giant step away from the turmoil of the past two years and opened a new window on its future.... The orchestra’s board brought back celebrated music director Osmo Vänskä on a two-year contract to rebuild an arts organization that has weathered the greatest crisis of its 110-year history."
  • New York Times: "Osmo is back.....In a move that some are calling a victory for art over commerce, the board of the beleaguered Minnesota Orchestra — which recently started playing again after a labor dispute caused a 16-month lockout — voted on Thursday to rehire Osmo Vanska as music director....Mr. Vanska, who had led the ensemble to national acclaim in his decade as its music director and won a Grammy Award with the orchestra this year for a Sibelius recording, resigned his post last fall in frustration as the lockout dragged on. His return now, with a new two-year contract, represents something of a musical revolution in Minneapolis...."
  • Minnesota Public Radio:  "After the lockout ended, Vänskä said Orchestra President Michael Henson would have to step down in order for the orchestra to heal.... In late March, Orchestra management announced that Henson resigned by mutual agreement...."

For more background, here's an excellent profile by Anne Midgette that appeared last week in the Washington Post, before the outcome was known. 

And here's a video about a concert that Vanska and the orchestra held during the lockout, to celebrate their 2013 Grammy nomination for a CD of Sibelius's Symphonies nos. 2 and 5. They were to win a Grammy outright this year for their next Sibelius recording, of Symphonies 1 and 4. The next installment - Symphonies 3 and 6 - was to be recorded last fall, but the sessions were canceled because the lockout was dragging on so much longer than anyone had predicted. Next question for Osmo/Minnesota watchers - will that session be rescheduled? Stay tuned!: