Conductor Laureate (2008-)
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor (1988-2008)
Principal Guest Conductor (1985-1988)
During his long collaboration with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä showed determination and a sense of purpose in his capacity as principal conductor from 1988 until 2008 (and as principal guest conductor from 1985 until 1988), and in 2008 he was named as the orchestra’s conductor laureate. His years with the orchestra are still remembered in particular for their focus on the music of Sibelius – for example with international tours and numerous award-winning recordings for BIS Records.
Since 2003 Osmo Vänskä has been artistic director of the renowned Minnesota Orchestra in the USA. From 1996 until 2002 he was principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has also been artistic director of the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
Osmo Vänskä began his musical career as a clarinettist and obtained his conducting degree from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1979. His career took off when he won the Besançon conducting competition in France in 1982. He has received numerous awards and distinctions including the Pro Finlandia medal (2000), an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow (2001), a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (2002) and, in September 2005, the Sibelius Medal from the Sibelius Society of Finland in recognition of his many years of work with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra performing and recording the music of Sibelius. In December 2004 Musical America named Vänskä as conductor of the year. In November 2013 the Finland Society named him expatriate of the year, and earlier that year he accepted the annual prize of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.