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Vanska begins new era for Minnesota Orchestra
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Osmo Vänskä begins a new season, and a new era, with the Minnesota Orchestra Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra)

Minneapolis, Minn. — Osmo Vänskä will lift the baton for the first time Thursday night as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. The Finnish conductor arrives as the orchestra celebrates its centennial. Vänskä says he realizes he has to live up to many expectations.

Vänskä's opening concert at Orchestra Hall will feature work by Neilsen, Rachmaninoff, and Beethoven's 5th symphony.

The Minnesota Orchestra is now under contract to record all of Beethoven's symphonies. Vänskä says he knows there are dozens of similar recordings. And he understands when people ask why the orchestra is doing another rendition. He says he wants to take a fresh approach to the works by ignoring what others have done and remaining true to Beethoven's scores.

Vänskä says it will be part of his job to find a balance between playing music audiences know and love, and introducing them to lesser-known works. The Helios Overture by Neilsen fills that role in the opening concert.

Vänskä and the orchestra will also perform a free concert Sunday afternoon at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis, beginning at 4 p.m.

To listen to Vänskä's comments about the new season, click the audio links in the right column.

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