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Beethoven & Sibelius

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Beethoven & Sibelius

Thursday, January 18—Saturday, January 20, 2024

Thursday, January 18—Saturday, January 20, 2024
Orchestra Hall
2 hours
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Conductor Osmo Vänskä, recognized as one of the world’s greatest Sibelius interpreters, leads a path through the Nordic ice and soaring splendor of the composer's Second Symphony. Henry Dorn's Transitions takes another journey through the ravenous wildness of change. Renowned English soloist Paul Lewis explores Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, with an "inwardness that is the pianist's forte" (Chicago Tribune).


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Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43


Osmo Vänskä


Conductor Laureate of the Minnesota Orchestra, where he held the Music Directorship for 19 years, and Music Director of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra from 2020 to 2023, Osmo Vänskä is recognised for his compelling interpretations of repertoire of all ages and an energetic presence on the podium. His democratic and inclusive style of work has been key in forging long-standing relationships with many orchestras worldwide.

Performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Minnesota Orchestra in June 2022 provided a fitting culmination for Vänskä’s tenure as Music Director. Together they undertook five major European tours, as well as a historic trip to Cuba in 2015—the first visit by an American orchestra since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations. They also made a ground-breaking tour to South Africa in 2018 as part of worldwide celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary—furthermore the first visit by an American orchestra—drawing together South African and American performers in musical expressions of peace, freedom, and reconciliation on a five-city tour. Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra also made an acclaimed return to London’s BBC Proms in Summer 2018.

Vänskä will conduct Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on a major European tour in Autumn 2022, including concerts in Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, and London. He will return to guest conduct the Seoul Philharmonic several times in spring 2023.

He returns this season to the Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras of Bamberg, Chicago, Los Angeles, Helsinki, Israel, Houston, Montreal, and Pittsburgh, amongst others, while past guest conducting invitations include renowned international ensembles such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras in North America, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Iceland Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, as well as London Philharmonic Orchestra. He is regularly invited to guest conduct in Asia including with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and China, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestras.

Vänskä continues to develop a visiting and touring relationship with Curtis Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, leading conducting seminars as well as tours in Europe, the US and Asia. He has also been invited to guest conduct New World Symphony in Miami, where he additionally coaches its Conducting Fellows.

A distinguished recording artist for the BIS label, Vänskä is currently recording all of Mahler’s symphonies with Minnesota Orchestra. The Fifth Symphony received a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä and Minnesota have also recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius to critical acclaim, winning a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2014 as well as being nominated on several occasions. In 2021 they were voted Gramophone’s ​‘Orchestra of the Year’.

Vänskä studied conducting at Finland’s Sibelius Academy and was awarded first prize in the 1982 Besançon Competition. He began his career as a clarinetist, occupying the co-principal chair of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly performs chamber music, having been invited to La Jolla Summerfest, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Naantali Summer Festival, Sysmä Summer Sounds and Music in Ruovesi, to name a few. He has recorded Bernhard Henrik Crusell’s three Clarinet Quartets and Kalevi Aho’s Clarinet Quintet for the BIS label and is in the process of recording several duos for clarinet and violin which he has commissioned with his wife, violinist Erin Keefe.

Vänskä is the recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, the Finlandia Foundation’s Arts and Letters award, the 2010 Ditson Award from Columbia University and the Pro Finlandia medal awarded to him by the State of Finland. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Minnesota and was named Musical America’s 2005 Conductor of the Year. In 2013 he received the Annual Award from the German Record Critics’ Award Association for his involvement in BIS’s recordings of the complete works by Sibelius.

Paul Lewis


Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. His numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D'or de l'Annee, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. In 2016 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, and holds honorary doctorates from Southampton University and Edge Hill University.

He performs regularly as soloist with the world's great orchestras and is a frequent guest at the most prestigious international festivals, including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart (New York), Tanglewood, Schubertiade, Salzburg, Edinburgh, and London’s BBC Proms where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season. His recital career takes him to venues such as London's Royal Festival Hall, Alice Tully and Carnegie Hall in New York, Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus, the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Tonhalle Zurich, Palau de Musica Barcelona, Symphony Hall Chicago, Oji Hall in Tokyo, and Melbourne’s Recital Centre.

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