Vanska spoke to reporters Friday afternoon after he rehearsed musicians in the Sibelius Symphonies 2 & 5. The orchestra's recording of those works has earned a Grammy nomination and a concert tonight at the Minneapolis Convention Center is intended to celebrate the accomplishment. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and orchestra benefactor Judy Dayton organized the concert as a respite from the labor strife that has consumed the organization since last summer.
"I'm really thankful for the mayor and for Judy Dayton that they wanted us to celebrate the Grammy nomination," Vanska said in his dressing room. "It was very emotional [to get in front of the band again] because we recorded those symphonies two summers ago and we know that people are liking them so much."
Vanska has been on a busy guest schedule since the orchestra's musicians were locked out in a contract dispute. He recently conducted concerts on the Chicago Symphony's tour of Asia. He also has been in London, Kansas City, the Netherlands and with the CSO in Chicago. As much as he enjoys those orchestras, he said, he feels an affinity to this ensemble.
"The Minnesota Orchestra is playing so well -- that is the thing I am missing," he said. "I would like to see everybody from the orchestra family there tonight."
Asked if he would get involved in contract negotiations if both union musicians and management asked him, Vanska said quickly, "No, I have enough headaches without that."
He continues to meet regularly with Michael Henson, the orchestra's president and CEO. He declined to comment on those conversations.
"What did you expect?" he said, smiling. "We say 'good morning' to each other and then 'good bye' at the end, but I'm not going to say what we talk about."
A letter from Vanska last November was made public in which he urged both sides to do whatever it takes to reach a settlement.
The Friday night concert is virtually sold out.