Osmo Vänskä prepares for his final concerts as Minnesota Orchestra music director: Mahler 8, Kuusisto world premiere

Posted on: June 3, 2022

Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra. Photo: Scott Strebl

“In this flinty arts hub, where modesty is prized no less than achievement, an era is about to end, as Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s redoubtable 69-year-old music director, prepares to leave his post after 19 seasons,” writes David Mermelstein in Tuesday’s (5/31) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “His final appearances on the podium in the job come this month…. One must acknowledge the extraordinary events that have occurred on Mr. Vänskä’s watch…. [Last October’s performance of] Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 (‘The Inextinguishable’) … was a thing unto itself—a hell-for-leather glimpse into the horrors of war rendered in musical terms that also proved a glowing showcase for qualities like precision and unity of ensemble. [Mahler’s] overwhelming Symphony No. 8 … will mark Mr. Vänskä’s valedictory as music director … June 10 through 12…. Before the rigors of Mahler Eight, Mr. Vänskä and the Minnesotans have one other program, running June 2 through 4 and featuring the premiere of a symphony by the Finnish violinist and composer Jaakko Kuusisto, who died in February at age 48. Mr. Vänskä bequeaths his successor, and this community, a committed and polished ensemble. He also leaves a hefty number of recordings.”