As Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra for more than a decade, Osmo Vänskä has led the orchestra on five major European tours, as well as an historic trip to Cuba in May 2015—the first visit by a major US orchestra in recent times. Mr. Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have produced fifteen recordings including the Grammy Award-winning recording of Sibelius’s First and Fourth Symphonies. His latest release on BIS, a recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the Minnesota Orchestra, will be followed up this season by Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6, continuing the cycle dedicated to the composer. Other recordings include the complete Beethoven and Sibelius symphony cycles with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Grammy and Gramphone award-nominated recordings of Beethoven’s piano concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin.
The 2017-18 season sees Mr. Vänskä conducting concerts commemorating Finland’s Centennial, a world premiere by Sebastian Currier, a two-week Tchaikovsky Marathon, and Mahler’s Symphony Nos. 1 and 4. Guest conducting appearances include debuts with Berlin Radio Orchestra, SWR Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and National Taiwan Symphony, and returns to Orchestre de Paris, and the Seoul and Helsinki philharmonics, among others. Following his appointment as Honorary Conductor in 2017, after serving as the orchestra’s principal guest conductor and chief conductor, Mr. Vänskä celebrates his long-standing relationship with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts. Currently the Conductor Laureate of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (having previously been its music director), he also held the position of chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Vänskä studied conducting at Finland’s Sibelius Academy and was awarded first prize in the 1982 Besançon Competition. He began his career as a clarinetist occupying the co-principal chair of the Helsinki Philharmonic, and in recent years, has enjoyed a return to the clarinet on a 2012 recording of Kalevi Aho’s chamber works.
He is the recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, the Finlandia Foundation’s Arts and Letters award, and the 2010 Ditson Award from Columbia University. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Minnesota and was named Musical America’s 2005 Conductor of the Year. In 2013 he received the Annual Award from the German Record Critics' Award Association for his involvement in BIS’s recordings of the complete works by Sibelius.