Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra with the Gramophone Magazine’s Award for Orchestra of the Year. In a virtual ceremony held in London on Tuesday 5 October, this category is the only one that is awarded by popular vote, while all others are decided though a vote by a selected panel of critics. The category was first awarded in 2018 and previous winners include the Seattle Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic or The Philadelphia orchestras.
Garnering nearly one-third of around 31,000 casted votes, this year’s nominees included the Berliner Philharmoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Singapore Symphony, Philharmonia and Cleveland orchestras, and period-instrument ensembles Academy of Ancient Music and Accademia Bizantina. Gramophone’s editor-in-chief, James Jolly and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason announced the honour, which Vänskä and the orchestra accepted via a video message recorded from the stage of Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, residency to the Minnesota Orchestra.
Vänskä is Musical Director of the Minnesota Orchestra for 18 years, with 2021/22 being the last season of his tenure. Together they hold a long recording history, with their most recent focus being the complete symphonies by Mahler. The recording of the Fifth Symphony received a Grammy nomination, and previous releases include the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius which received critical acclaim and also Grammy nominations – including an award in 2014.
You can watch Osmo Vänskä’s acceptance speech here.