Osmo Vänskä

Osmo Vänskä

Otto Vanska

The acclaimed Finnish conductor started his career as a clarinettist.

  • Born in Finland in 1953, the conductor Osmo Vänskä studied at the Helsinki Conservatory and started his musical career in 1971 as a clarinettist with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • From 1977-1982, he played principal clarinet with the Helsinki Philharmonic.
  • During that time, he started to study conducting at the Sibelius Academy, where his classmates included Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
  • Vänskä became principal guest conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in 1985, and its chief conductor in 1988. Today he is the orchestra's Conductor Laureate.
  • His complete set of Sibelius symphonies with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra has been widely acclaimed. Almost 15 years after those recordings, he embarked on a major new project to record the symphonies again with the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • He was chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 1993–1996.
  • In 1996, Vänskä was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and served in that capacity for six years. He recorded a complete Carl Nielsen symphonic cycle with them.
  • In 2003, he became the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra where he has greatly enhanced the quality of the orchestra.
  • Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra participated in a five-year project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies. The set received rave reviews.  

Did you know?

One of Vänskä's hobbies is riding motorcycles and his son Otto plays violin in a Finnish folk metal band.