Vanska brings “blazing intensity” to San Francisco residency

Posted on: October 29, 2009

“Osmo Vänskä stands out for his unaffected, modest demeanor,” writes Joshua Kosman in Wednesday’s (10/28) San Francisco Chronicle. “Yet the 56-year-old Finnish conductor, who is in the middle of a two-week guest stint with the San Francisco Symphony, leads orchestras in performances of rhetorical effectiveness and sometimes blazing intensity. The Minnesota Orchestra, where he has been music director since 2003, is reportedly playing at its highest level in years. And Vänskä’s guest appearances in San Francisco, dating back to his 2002 Symphony debut with the late pianist Alicia de Larrocha, have been reliably exciting events.” Vänskä, who leads the San Francisco Symphony in works by Sallinen and Sibelius October 28, 30, and 31, says in the article, “I try to be careful not to overload people with Finnish music—too much is too much. I am proud that my small country has produced so much music, but I don’t feel I am an ambassador for Finnish music. There was a time, especially when I was starting out, when I’d always be asked to do Sibelius symphonies. That is basically a positive thing, but I don’t want to have a stamp on my forehead saying ‘Sibelius.’ ”

Posted October 29, 2009