The maestro returns: Vänskä reportedly has Minnesota Orchestra contract


Multiple news outlets report that Osmo Vänskä is returning to the Minnesota Orchestra as music director.

The Star Tribune says the orchestra's board of directors approved a two-year contract Thursday and Vänskä will return on May 1 to the post he held for 10 years before a labor dispute rocked the orchestra.

MPR News reports Vänskä's return will help the rebuilding process after a 16-month lockout of musicians forced the cancellation of an entire season.

Vänskä resigned in October after the orchestra cancelled a pair of prestigious concert dates at New York's Carnegie Hall. After musicians and management finally agreed on a new contract in January, Vänskä said publicly that in order for the orchestra to heal Michael Henson would need to leave his post as President and CEO.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Vänskä's return as music director was also widely seen – particularly among musicians – as a necessity to rebuilding trust.

If those developments were indeed prerequisites for healing, they are hurdles that have now been cleared. Henson announced last month that he's stepping down at the end of August. He had his supporters, though. Eight of them resigned from the board in the wake of Henson's announcement.

Now Vänskä's return might be seen as the dropping of the other shoe.

As the Post reports, Vänskä is in Washington, D.C., this week, conducting performances of the National Symphony Orchestra Thursday through Saturday.

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