Osmo Vänskä is to return as Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, signing a contract for the next two seasons.
Vänskä resigned from the orchestra in October last year, following more than a year of contract disputes between the musicians and management over pay that had led to the entire previous season being cancelled. A contract between players and management was subsequently reached in January, including a 15 per cent cut in salary - something that Vänskä will also accept.
His previous decade as music director – a post he took up in 2003 – saw some well-received recordings for the BIS label, including the start of a Sibelius symphony cycle. The release of Symphonies Nos 1 and 4 was awarded an Editor’s Choice in our August 2013 issue. Now he’s back perhaps that series may well conclude, and the hope must be that the past seven months will be seen as a mere interruption in what’s been, musically at least, a successful partnership.
‘I am very pleased to have this chance to rebuild the Vänskä/Minnesota Orchestra partnership,’ said the Finnish conductor in a statement, ‘and I look forward to getting back to music-making with the players and together re-establishing our worldwide reputation for artistic excellence.’ He will lead the orchestra in a minimum of 10 weeks of concerts each season.
A statement issued by the orchestra quoted the musicians as being ‘truly excited by the board's decision to bring back Osmo as music director’, while the chairman of the board, Gordon Sprenger, said, ‘we are happy to be able to reunite Osmo and the Orchestra to deliver outstanding musical performances for our community and to extend their celebrated musical partnership. We are delighted he is back.’