Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

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John F
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Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by John F » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:41 am

Not until 2022, when he will have been their music director for 19 years through thick and thin. He will continue with the orchestra as guest conductor.

Conductor Osmo Vänskä to exit Minnesota Orchestra when contract expires
By Jenna Ross Star Tribune
December 5, 2018


Osmo Vänskä, whose baton led the Minnesota Orchestra back from a bitter lockout and on historic tours to Cuba and South Africa, announced Wednesday he will step down as music director when his contract is up in 2022. At that point, Vänskä, who is 65, will have spent 19 years with the orchestra — matching its two longest-serving music directors. The news, delivered at the orchestra’s annual meeting, will give the orchestra time to find its next conductor and artistic leader.

“I feel at this moment, more than ever in my life, that the Minnesota Orchestra is my own orchestra,” he said. “And that’s a great feeling. What we have achieved, especially since the lockout, is something very special.”

In 2012, Minnesota’s largest performing arts organization was silenced for 16 months after contract talks broke down. Vänskä resigned in frustration, but returned to lead the musicians in 2014 after they accepted pay cuts and other concessions. Together, they staged comebacks at Carnegie Hall in 2016 and, this summer, at the BBC Proms, where they earned critics’ praise. They became the first professional U.S. orchestra to travel to Cuba after relations between the countries warmed and the first to tour South Africa. They have recorded symphonies by Sibelius and Beethoven, winning a Grammy for a 2013 Sibelius release. Next, they will wrap up recordings of all 10 Mahler symphonies that earned them another Grammy nomination.

“There’s no drama,” Vänskä told the board members, donors and staffers gathered in Orchestra Hall’s atrium Wednesday. “Nothing has happened, no bad feelings.” But conductors are busy people, he continued, booked years in advance. “I really hope that four years is going to be a long enough time to find someone who is going to care for this orchestra.”

In the world of symphony orchestras, searches take years. “Knowing this news from Osmo now ... allows us an opportunity to do a very thoughtful and thorough international search,” said Michelle Miller Burns, the orchestra’s new CEO. There will be a search committee, comprising musicians, board members and others. But the process also involves putting candidates on the podium. An orchestra in the market for a music director will often invite candidates to guest-conduct.

One of the exciting parts of the search, then, is the possibility that when someone steps onto the podium — as Vänskä himself did before he was hired — they could be in the running, Burns said. “It causes audiences to really engage in an exciting and meaningful way … ‘Oh my goodness, could this be our next music director?’ ”

The orchestra is hoping a strong balance sheet helps lure new leadership. At Wednesday’s meeting, for the fourth consecutive year, it unveiled a balanced budget. The nonprofit’s annual report shows a surplus of about $65,000 on its $36.7 million operating budget for fiscal 2018, which ended Aug. 31. Earned revenue for the year totaled $12 million, topping the orchestra’s peak of $10.9 million in 2009. Contributions were up, too, but much of that bump came from a one-time gift for the South Africa tour.

The orchestra filled 91 percent of its seats during the season, the highest share since Orchestra Hall was renovated in 2012-13.

A spokeswoman declined to share Vänskä’s current salary. In fiscal 2016, he made about $734,000, according to the orchestra’s tax return. He earned $936,000 before the lockout.

The Finnish conductor was a “sandy-haired, bespectacled 48-year-old” when he took the stage at Orchestra Hall as a guest conductor in October 2000, according to the 2009 book “Osmo Vänskä: Orchestra Builder,” by former Star Tribune critic Michael Anthony. Though he was the longtime chief conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and, since 1996, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Vänskä was lesser known outside Finland and Britain. That October 2000 concert led to another, then the gig: In 2003, he became the Minnesota Orchestra’s 10th music director. Since then, he has appointed 37 new musicians, according to the orchestra.

From the start, the musicians saw that Vänskä “had an extremely good ear and a very good work ethic,” said Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, horn player and chair of the Musicians’ Artistic Advisory Committee. Since the lockout, the orchestra has “morphed into an organization that really talks to and trusts each other and works together,” she said. And that “has to be led from the top person.”

The musicians have gotten to know Vänskä personally, appreciating the sense of humor behind his stoicism. “I don’t know if you know much about Finns, but their personalities can take a while to get to know,” Smith said. “It’s kind of fun to look at the twinkle in his eye and know what he’s thinking.”

There are still 3½ seasons left in his tenure, Vänskä pointed out, with symphonies to record and tours to lead. Even after his contract ends, it’s likely he will return to the podium. After the late Stanislaw Skrowaczewski stepped down as music director, he occasionally conducted the orchestra into his 90s, in between international gigs.

Vänskä is married to the orchestra’s concertmaster, Erin Keefe. “We love our home in Minneapolis,” he said. “That is our plan, to stay here.”

http://www.startribune.com/conductor-os ... 502024131/
John Francis

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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:06 am

The Minnesota Orchestra (formerly known as the Minneapolis Symphony) has not, IMHO, been appreciated as an American institution except among cognoscenti (Eugene Ormandy got his start as a conductor there in the 1930's.). Vanska's recordings have won praise, but the ensemble never makes it to TV so I don't get to see them. Skrowaczewski made some very fine recordings for Vox in really great sound during the 1970's (Ravel, Bartok, Stravinsky etc.). I had some of their LPs encoded in DBX noise reduction, and they sounded as good as reel-to-reel tape, or better.

Vanska IMHO has built an international-level orchestra there. Hope his replacement will be worthy of the position.

John F
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by John F » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:24 pm

Dimitri Mitropoulos led the Minneapolis Symphony from 1937 to 1949 and made quite a few recordings for Columbia. I learned the Tchaikovsky 4th symphony from one of these, reissued on Columbia's bargain label Entre, and still think it is one of the most exciting. Mitropoulos made enough of an impression that he became the New York Philharmonic's music director until Bernstein's rising popularity edged him out. He was also an exciting opera conductor at the Met and in Europe; they loved him in Vienna. He was followed in Minneapolis by Antal Dorati whose brilliant-sounding recordings for Mercury were in many high fidelity fans' record collections.
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:50 pm

So Vanska is utterly uses in your old school opinion.

How fucking Pathetic.

May the old members of orchestras, websites, etc die gracefully,
try not uttering another word on this site.

let new champions take their place.

time to pack it in John F
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jserraglio
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:27 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:50 pm
... fucking Pathetic.
Bilious.

John F
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by John F » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:10 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:50 pm
So Vanska is utterly uses in your old school opinion.

How fucking Pathetic.

May the old members of orchestras, websites, etc die gracefully,
try not uttering another word on this site.

let new champions take their place.

time to pack it in John F
If this is addressed to me, it's completely uncalled for and weird. I've never said anything negative about Vänskä, here or anywhere else; this thread merely reports some important news. Apologize to me, or it's time for you to pack it in.

Or maybe it isn't really Chalkie, but a troll who has hacked his account? A string of venomous messages has suddenly appeared after many months in which we didn't hear from him at all. I'd rather believe that this is an impersonator than that it's the Chalkperson who made such a positive contribution to CMG for so many years.
John Francis

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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:55 am

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:27 pm
Chalkperson wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:50 pm
... fucking Pathetic.
Bilious.
Yup, bilious is exactly how i feel.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Chalkperson
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:57 am

John F wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:10 pm
Chalkperson wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:50 pm
So Vanska is utterly uses in your old school opinion.

How fucking Pathetic.

May the old members of orchestras, websites, etc die gracefully,
try not uttering another word on this site.

let new champions take their place.

time to pack it in John F
If this is addressed to me, it's completely uncalled for and weird. I've never said anything negative about Vänskä, here or anywhere else; this thread merely reports some important news. Apologize to me, or it's time for you to pack it in.

Or maybe it isn't really Chalkie, but a troll who has hacked his account? A string of venomous messages has suddenly appeared after many months in which we didn't hear from him at all. I'd rather believe that this is an impersonator than that it's the Chalkperson who made such a positive contribution to CMG for so many years.
maybe he's in a bad way, and what little of his bipolar is left has taken over.

he's mentioned being mentally ill a number of times, which is why he tries not to post.

sometimes the dark side takes over.

trust me, its no fun.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Chalkperson
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:05 am

if seraglio wants me banned, feel free, i have nothing let to live for anyway, eight years of chronic depression has left me unable to function properly. I'm unlikely to ever say anything positive again.
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John F
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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by John F » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:31 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:57 am
maybe he's in a bad way, and what little of his bipolar is left has taken over.

he's mentioned being mentally ill a number of times, which is why he tries not to post.

sometimes the dark side takes over.

trust me, its no fun.
If you regret what you said to me, then say so. If you don't, what you're saying now is no excuse. We try to keep it civil around here, it's one of the house rules of which you were once an enforcer. How about it?
John Francis

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Re: Osmo Vänskä leaving Minnesota Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:06 pm

John F wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:31 am
Chalkperson wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:57 am
maybe he's in a bad way, and what little of his bipolar is left has taken over.

he's mentioned being mentally ill a number of times, which is why he tries not to post.

sometimes the dark side takes over.

trust me, its no fun.
If you regret what you said to me, then say so. If you don't, what you're saying now is no excuse. We try to keep it civil around here, it's one of the house rules of which you were once an enforcer. How about it?


if you think i don't regret what i said in whatever posts i made then you know nothing about mental illness, of course i regret it.

interesting that rather than be concerned this is happening to me you push for me to post again and use the word regret says a lot about you.

i do everything in my power not to post. not to communicate on here.
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