Home > Artists > Osmo Vänskä


Music Director: Minnesota Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor: Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate: Lahti Symphony Orchestra


Osmo Vänskä is internationally in demand as a guest conductor and has received extraordinary acclaim for his work with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. He has also developed regular relationships with the Mostly Mozart Festival (New York) and the BBC Proms.

The 2013/14 season brings performances with the San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre National de Lyon, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Singapore Symphony.

Recording for BIS, Vänskä gained distinction as a recording artist with his landmark Sibelius cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, described by Gramophone as “the finest survey of the past three decades.” In 2014, his recording with the Minnesota Orchestra of Sibelius’ Symphonies Nos.1 and 4 won a Grammy award – following the nomination of the Second and Fifth Symphonies the year before. A further Minnesota Orchestra record – the second featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin – was also released in 2013.

The short biography displayed on this page is for information only. For concert programmes and promotional materials please use the downloadable versions.


“Vänskä’s scrupulously researched Sibelius is essential listening.” (Andrew Clark, Financial Times, January 2014)

“Vänskä is a Sibelius expert (he's already made a complete cycle of his fellow Finn's symphonies with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra), but the band from Minneapolis proves not only that they are up to par — they set the bar. These are recordings brimming with vigor and grace.” (NPR Classical, 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013, December 2013)

“This is a thoroughly compelling account of Sibelius’ enigmatic Fourth Symphony. Vänskä is one of the greatest living Sibelius conductors and knows how to bring out the despair at the heart of this spare, icy, almost rebarbative masterpiece.” (Paul Gent, The Telegraph, April 2013)

"That Vanska found himself with a vacancy in his date book was a stroke of luck for the CSO...Vanska was on his toes, sometimes literally, in defining the dancing rhythms of the scherzo, while his handling of the long lead-up to the main portion of the final movement was as masterful as his shaping of the first-movement introduction. He kept the orchestra musicians – and audience members too – on the edge of their seats, so tremendous was the onrush of musical energy he generated in Brahms' noble finale." (Chicago Tribune, October 2012)

"Vänskä has this music deep within his bones, and he delivered a corruscating account of another world written in a time of war." (The Times, August 2012)

"Vänskä’s expressive beat drew such fine playing from the orchestra that the whole thing acquired an air of enchantment." (The Independent, August 2012)

"...With a conductor as stellar as Mr. Vänskä on the podium, there was plenty to admire in terms of phrasing and nuance" (The New York Times, August 2012)

"From a technical standpoint, the Minnesota Orchestra is one of the finest in the country. The strings are bright but with plenty of body, and the winds and brass have one of the most pleasing blends of any American orchestra – including an impressive horn section that was particularly outstanding in the opening work and Nielsen’s third movement. With Vänskä on the podium, the Minnesotans are presenting some of the most characterful and thoughtful music-making on the continent." (Classical Source, October 2011)

"Mr. Vanska has the Minnesota Orchestra sounding like one of America’s finest." (The New York Times, October 2011)

"Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra offered an astoundingly forceful, never-to-be-forgotten account of Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony. Even the memory of it brings tears to my eyes. What secret of musical emotion does Vänskä possess?" (Alex Ross, The New Yorker, December 2010)

“Here he returns to Bruckner with a superb account of the Fourth remarkable, as one has learned to expect from Vänskä, for unusual textural clarity and the sense that he has come to the music from the inside, bringing it alive through unrelenting attention to detail and unsentimentally brisk tempi. If this release signals the beginning of a Bruckner cycle on BIS, we shall all be the better off for it.” (Finnish Music Quarterly, October 2010)

“Vänskä has been the music director of the Minnesota [Orchestra] since 2003. For some years, it has been evident that he is a conductor of genius, one whom Furtwängler might have recognized as a kindred spirit. The crucial element in his work is unanimity — not unanimity of execution (although that was hardly lacking) but unanimity of feeling. The climaxes were as shattering as on any other night, but the quietest moments registered even more strongly. I hope that Vänskä and his players went home happy… For the duration of the evening of March 1st, the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world.” (The New Yorker, March 2010)

“…the Sixth was wonderfully relaxed, without a trace of unnecessary rhetoric and a perfect example of Vänskä's total trust in Sibelius's sense of musical architecture, the "miraculous logic" that gave the LPO series its title, and which he understands better than any other conductor today.” (The Guardian, February 2010)


Grace Ko
+44 (0)20 3725 9141


HarrisonParrott Artists at the Mostly Mozart Festival
Osmo Vänskä conducts opening concerts of Pacific Music Festival
Osmo Vänskä appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä to return as Minnesota Orchestra Music Director
Osmo Vänskä conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Kalinnikov Symphony No.1
Osmo Vänskä conducts Bamberger Symphoniker in Nielsen, Beethoven and Aho
Osmo Vänskä's BIS CD of Sibelius’ Symphonies 1 & 4 wins a Grammy
Osmo Vänskä makes his first appearance with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Recordings featuring ten HarrisonParrott artists have been shortlisted for 2014 GRAMMY Awards
Osmo Vänskä conducts Budapest Festival Orchestra in Aho, Bartók and Prokofiev
HarrisonParrott artists and touring orchestras feature in BBC Proms
Osmo Vänskä & Stephen Hough appear with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Osmo Vänskä takes over Chicago Symphony Orchestra tour dates in Taiwan
Five star reviews for Osmo Vänskä's concert with London Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä returns to Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Seven HarrisonParrott Artists appear at Mostly Mozart Festival
Osmo Vänskä and Martin Fröst perform with Wiener Symphoniker
Osmo Vänskä conducts world premiere with London Philharmonic Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä and Martin Fröst perform with Los Angeles Philharmonic
Osmo Vänskä returns to Gewandhausorchester
New release marks a major new Sibelius recording project for Osmo Vänskä
Janine Jansen begins London Philharmonic Orchestra residency with Osmo Vänskä
Osmo Vänskä performs with Minnesota Orchestra and Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall
Osmo Vänskä debuts with Bamberger Symphoniker and Tamara Stefanovich
Martin Fröst gives first performance with Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä
Osmo Vänskä receives 2010 Ditson Conductor's Award from Columbia University
Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra complete critically-acclaimed tour
Critical acclaim for Hough's Tchaikovsky