Osmo Vänskä Says Minnesota Orchestra President Michael Henson Must Go!

By Louise Burton on Feb 12, 2014 12:34 PM EST

Osmo Vänskä, who resigned as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra last October, talked with Brian Newhouse of Classical Minnesota Public Radio this weekend about what might prompt him to return to the orchestra, now that it has emerged from a bitter contract dispute that lasted more than a year.

Vänskä told Newhouse: "For any healing to begin at the orchestra, Michael Henson must go."

Henson, the orchestra's president, oversaw the grueling 15-month lockout of orchestra musicians that was recently resolved.

Vänskä confirmed that his comment was for the record.

Minnesota Public Radio attempted to contact Henson about Vänskä's statement, but he declined to comment.

The orchestra's new board chair, Gordon Sprenger, told MPR, "We are surprised Osmo chose to register his comments with the news media when those conversations belong within the Orchestral Association."

MPR's Marianne Combs conjectured that Vänskä was perhaps emboldened to make this statement after audience members publicly called for his return on Friday during the Minnesota Orchestra's first concert in Orchestra Hall since the lockout ended.

The orchestra played Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Strauss' Don Juan on the first half of the program, led by conductor laureate Stanisław Skrowaczewski. After intermission, Chairman Sprenger took the stage to speak to the audience.

Some audience members shouted: "We want Osmo. Bring back Osmo!" and this demand was met with applause from the audience.

Sprenger responded, "I want you to know we understand that and we are addressing that."

We at Classicalite hope that the orchestra addresses this matter swiftly, so that Vänskä can be persuaded to return, and the Grammy award-winning combination of conductor and orchestra can continue to make great music together.

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TagsOsmo Vänskä, Minnesota Orchestra, Michael Henson, Marianne Combs, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Gordon Sprenger, Grammy award

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