Osmo Vänskä

Osmo Vänskä
Birth name Osmo Antero Vänskä
Born (1953-02-28) 28 February 1953
Sääminki, Finland
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Conductor, clarinetist, composer
Instruments Clarinet
Years active 1971–present
Associated acts

Osmo Antero Vänskä (born 28 February 1953, Sääminki, Finland) is a Finnish conductor, clarinetist and composer.

He started his musical career as an orchestral clarinetist with the Turku Philharmonic (1971–76).[1] He then became the principal clarinet of the Helsinki Philharmonic from 1977 to 1982. During this time, he started to study conducting with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy, where his classmates included Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. In 1982, he won the International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors.

Vänskä became principal guest conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in 1985, and chief conductor in 1988. He concluded his tenure with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and is now the orchestra's Conductor Laureate. His complete set of Sibelius symphonies with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, also on the BIS label, has garnered widespread acclaim. He has recorded extensively with the Lahti orchestra for the BIS label, including music by Kalevi Aho, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Bernhard Crusell, Uuno Klami, Tauno Marttinen, Robert Kajanus, Sofia Gubaidulina, Joonas Kokkonen, Jan Sandström, Jean Sibelius, and Fredrik Pacius.

Vänskä was chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBCSSO), and served in that capacity until 2002. With the BBCSSO, he made recordings of the complete Carl Nielsen symphonies for the BIS label.[2] In June 2014, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra announced the return of Vänskä to the orchestra as its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2014-2015 season.[3][4]

In 2003, Vänskä became the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. He and the orchestra have received critical praise, and he is generally regarded as having enhanced the quality of the orchestra.[5] In 2004, Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra began a five-year project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies on the BIS label.[6] In 2005, Vänskä signed a contract extension with the Minnesota Orchestra through at least 2011. In September 2009, the orchestra announced the extension of Vänskä's contract through the 2014–2015 season.[7] He announced his resignation on 1 October 2013, one year after management locked out the musicians in a longstanding labor dispute.[8] In January 2014 Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra won a Grammy for best orchestral performance for the album of Sibelius' Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4.[9] He was re-appointed music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in April 2014 with a two-year contract,[10] which was extended in May 2015 to last until August 2019.[11]

In May 2008, an orchestral piece composed by Vänskä titled "The Bridge" was premiered by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, led by William Schrickel, assistant-principal bassist of the Minnesota Orchestra. Vänskä himself attended the world premiere.[12]

Vänskä and his former wife Pirkko, a freelance drama critic, have three grown children, one of whom, Olli, plays violin in the Finnish folk metal band Turisas. The couple separated in 2009.[13] In December 2014 Vänskä announced via Facebook that he and Erin Keefe, the Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster, had become engaged. They were married in April 2015.[14] He maintains a residence in Minneapolis. In private life, one of his hobbies is riding motorcycles.[15]


  1. David Patrick Stearns, "Making His Mark: Osmo Vänskä". andante.com (overall site now defunct), February 2004.
  2. Andrew Clements (2005-04-15). "'For my next trick...'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  3. "Osmo Vänskä aðalgestastjórnandi næstu þrjú starfsár" (Press release). Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Sinfóníuhljómsveitar Íslands). 16 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  4. Andrew Mellor (2014-07-10). "Principal Guest positions for Vänskä and Stenz". Gramophone. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  5. Jay Nordlinger (15 February 2007). "A Glorious Dawn, in Sound & Spirit". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
  6. James R. Oestreich (17 December 2006). "A Most Audacious Dare Reverberates". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
  7. "Music Director Osmo Vänskä Extends Contract With Minnesota Orchestra" (Press release). Minnesota Orchestra. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  8. Kerr, Euan, Conductor Vanska resigns from Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio (October 1, 2013)
  9. Jon Bream (24 January 2014). "Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä score a Grammy". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
  10. Kerr, Euan. "Vanska has deal to return as Minnesota Orchestra director". MPRnews.org. MPR News. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  11. "Minnesota Orchestra extends contract with Music Director Osmo Vänskä and announces new agreement with musicians" (Press release). Minnesota Orchestra. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  12. Combs, Marianne (16 May 2008). "Osmo Vanska composes a musical 'bridge'". MPR News. Minneapolis. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  13. Graydon Royce (20 March 2009). "Vanska, wife to end 35-year marriage". Star-Tribune. Minneapolis.
  14. Jon Bream (January 2, 2015) "Osmo Vänskä announces engagement", (Minneapolis) StarTribune, http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/blogs/287365711.html.
  15. Alex Ross (14 February 2005). "Osmosis". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2006-12-08.


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Ulf Söderblom
Chief Conductor, Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Jukka-Pekka Saraste (artistic advisor)
Preceded by
Petri Sakari
Chief Conductor, Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Petri Sakari
Preceded by
Jerzy Maksymiuk
Chief Conductor, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Ilan Volkov
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/13/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.