Osmo Vänskä to return as musical director of the Minnesota Orchestra

The Finnish conductor agrees to the same pay cut as orchestral musicians at the end of a record-breaking industrial stalemate

Conductor Osmo Vänskä

Conductor Osmo Vänskä has confirmed that he will resume his position as musical director of the Minnesota Orchestra for the next two seasons.


His return to post signals an end to the industrial stalemate that silenced the orchestra for more than 15 months.

The orchestra had ceased playing in October 2012 after musicians rejected a proposed salary cut of 32 per cent that was to be imposed as part of a $5m annual cost-cutting exercise.

Vänskä, who began his tenure as musical director of the Minneapolis-based orchestra in 2003, stood down in October 2013 in frustration over the lack of a settlement.

The conductor had previously warned that he would be ‘forced to resign’ if the orchestra was not able to fulfil its professional engagements that season.

The longest-ever lockdown of a professional orchestra in US history ended in January when musicians agreed to a 15 per cent pay reduction. The average orchestra member’s salary will now drop to $118,000 in the first year, from $135,000 in the expired contract. 

Vänskä, who sided with the musicians during the dispute, has agreed to the same reduction in salary and will resume his post on 1 May. The Finnish conductor will lead the orchestra for a minimum of 10 weeks in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

In a statement, the conductor said: ‘I am very pleased to have this chance to rebuild the Vänskä/Minnesota Orchestra partnership, and I look forward to getting back to music-making with the players and to together re-establishing our worldwide reputation for artistic excellence.’


Christina Kenny