Osmo Vänskä fans take note. Fewer opportunities exist to see the maestro on the podium in the 2011-12 Minnesota Orchestra season. Vänskä conducted 47 nights in the 2010-11 season; that figure dropped to 38 for the season that started last night. However, five of the dates this season are taken up with a Florida tour in early March so you have 33 nights to see him in Minneapolis.

Interestingly (or not), Vänskä is doing almost the same number of weeks this year than last year — 13, compared to 15 in 2010-11. That’s dictated by his contract, which calls for him to do a minimum of ten weeks a season, with an average of 13 weeks for each of the seasons in his four-year contract.

A couple things account for part of the difference in total nights on the podium. First, Vänskä is not conducting four performances of "The Messiah" in December. Secondly, a Mozart Festival last January had a couple more dates than this coming January’s mid-month schedule. Osmo is on the podium this weekend with Ravel's Bolero and a world premiere of "TimePiece" by Stephen and Greg Paulus.