Praised for his intense and dynamic performances, Osmo Vänskä is recognised for compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires, as well as the close rapport he establishes with the musicians he leads. In 2003, Vänskä became Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he has received extraordinary acclaim for concerts both at home and abroad. Together they have an annual series at New York’s Carnegie Hall and tour regularly both in the US and Europe. Their recordings of the complete Beethoven Symphonies have amassed rave reviews, and the Ninth Symphony received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä also holds the position of Conductor Laureate with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
Vänskä is internationally in demand as a guest conductor and has worked with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic. He has developed regular relationships in the US with the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony and Mostly Mozart Festival, New York, and in Europe with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Future engagements take him across the globe – from Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo, via Wiener Symphoniker and Budapest Festival Orchestra, to Sydney Symphony and China Philharmonic Orchestra.
Almost 15 years after recording a landmark Sibelius cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra—described by Gramophone magazine as “the finest survey of the past three decades”—Osmo Vänskä has returned to his compatriot’s seven symphonies in a major new recording project with BIS, this time featuring his Minnesota Orchestra. The first disc, comprised of the Second and Fifth Symphonies, was released in Spring 2012 and has received outstanding reviews; the second, featuring Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4, is due in Spring 2013. Summer 2013 sees a further Minnesota Orchestra record—the second in a complete cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin – with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, also on BIS.
Formerly Music Director of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and, prior to that, Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta, Vänskä studied conducting at Finland’s Sibelius Academy and was awarded first prize in the 1982 Besançon International Young Conductor’s Competition. He began his professional music career as a clarinettist, holding the co-principal chair of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the principal chair of the Turku Philharmonic, and in recent years has enjoyed a return to the clarinet: He has played chamber music with members of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and in 2005 made his Twin Cities clarinet performance debut at Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest. In Spring 2012 BIS released a recording of Kalevi Aho’s chamber works, featuring Vänskä on the clarinet.