Osmo Vänskä Named Minnesota Orchestra's Conductor Laureate

The Finnish conductor will end his nearly two decades of music directorship with the orchestra next month, while taking on his new title beginning September 2022

(Photo credit: Joel Larson)


For one of Vänskä's final concerts as Music Director from June 2-4, 2022, he will pay tribute to Finnish violinist and composer Jaakko Kuusisto — who died in February 2022 — by leading the world premiere of Kuusisto’s Symphony.

The next weekend, from June 10-12, Vänskä will lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, which will be recorded for BIS as part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s award-winning Mahler cycle.

Osmo Vänskä joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2003 as its 10th music director. In 2014, he and the orchestra won a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for an album in its Sibelius Symphonies series.

Upon leaving his current role, Osmo Vänskä will become the orchestra's Conductor Laureate. The new role aims to recognize his impact on the Minnesota Orchestra over 19 years as its music director. As conductor laureate, Vänskä will annually return to conduct the orchestra.

He will also join Emil Oberhoffer and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski as the longest-tenured music directors in the institution’s history.

"The Minnesota Orchestra has been my musical home for almost 20 years," commented Vänskä. "It means a lot that I will continue making music with my friends in the Minnesota Orchestra and remain linked to the Minnesota audiences who have been so receptive and supportive to my musical ideas over so many years."

"Osmo's ongoing legacy is reflected in the membership of the Orchestra itself. He has brought so many talented musicians into the ensemble and developed a remarkable artistic cohesiveness and integrity which will carry forward for years to come," said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns. "This new role also acknowledges the remarkable partnership he and the Orchestra have established with Minnesota audiences over two decades."