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Continued: Citing 'unfinished business,' Osmo Vänskä says he would like to 'do great music' with Minnesota Orchestra

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 26, 2014 - 10:03 PM

“That’s a big if,” he said. “I don’t want to jump into something if I don’t see a great future in my mind. It’s all about music.”

His first public comments on the orchestra situation were made on the weekend of Feb. 7 and 8, when musicians returned to Orchestra Hall. In a conversation with MPR music host Brian Newhouse, Vänskä said he believed President and CEO Michael Henson needed to resign before any healing could take place after the 16-month lockout.

Behind the scenes, Vänskä had indicated that he would not entertain a return if Henson were still CEO. Henson stepped down late last week, and will leave his post at the end of August.

Rehearsals invoke memories

Vänskä would not comment on whether Henson’s presence until August would affect his decision. He also declined to discuss his feelings about the board of directors.

Vänskä and the orchestra achieved great international repute over the past several years with recordings and performances at Carnegie Hall and the BBC Proms.

He had intended to record an entire cycle of Sibelius symphonies with the Minnesota Orchestra.

The first disc from those recording sessions was nominated for a Grammy and the second won the award in February. There are three more symphonies as yet unrecorded.

Vänskä was terse during his interview, declining to comment on a few occasions and smiling infrequently. Asked where he will put his Grammy Award for the orchestra’s recording of two Sibelius symphonies, he said he had “no reason to think about that.”

Asked if his rehearsals with the orchestra on Tuesday and Wednesday had brought back memories, he said, “I’m just doing my job” although he admitted it was good to be back on stage.

“Rehearsing this orchestra reminds me of all the good music we made in those nine years of work. It’s nice being back on stage and making music with them.”

Just this week, the orchestra released a CD of Beethoven and Mozart piano concertos with soloist Yevgeny Sudbin. Those works were recorded in 2011 and 2012.


Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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  • Osmo Vanska in his office in Orchestra Hall on the eve of his concert with the Minnesota Orchestra that will feature the music that received a Grammy Award in February. ] GLEN STUBBE * Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

  • A clean start: Osmo Vänskä, shown in his office in Orchestra Hall, says of the organization, “It is like a big house and every room should be cleaned before the house is OK.” He will conduct this weekend’s concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra. Watch a video of an interview with Vänskä at


    What: Osmo Vänskä returns to Orchestra Hall to conduct Sibelius symphonies Nos. 1 and 4.

    When: 11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

    Where: Orchestra Hall, 11th St. and Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

    Tickets: $22-$84, 612-371-5656,

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