As Osmo Vänskä makes his official return to the Minnesota Orchestra later this week, the New York Times reports that the Finnish conductor's relationship with concertmaster Erin Keefe was disclosed to the orchestra's board of directors as it negotiated his return.
In a story headlined, "A Conductor, Rehired, Now Must Rebuild," the Times quoted from an interview with Vänskä that included details of what the paper termed his "personal relationship" with Keefe. The story said that Keefe and Vänskä became involved romantically over the last year. Vänskä called it a private matter and said that he would avoid taking part in any decisions relating to her status. “We are both professionals,” he added.
Ms. Keefe declined to comment to the Times.
The Times story continued, "In orchestras, as in most professions, romantic relationships between fellow employees are not uncommon, and they seldom attract wide attention except when the partners represent different levels of authority."
The Star Tribune followed up with a statement from board chair Gordon Sprenger. “Osmo was open with the board regarding his relationship with Erin Keefe,” Sprenger's statement read. “The association and Osmo have addressed the issue in a manner that takes into account the interests of all involved. While we won’t comment publicly with regards to the specific details of any negotiation, we are very pleased to have come to terms that reunite Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra.”
The Times story said that Keefe is auditioning for the position of concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic orchestra, where she was previously a violinist. During the 16-month lockout, Keefe twice sat in with the Philharmonic. Keefe's personal website includes her awards, upcoming performances and favorable reviews.
The Minnesota Orchestra has concerts scheduled on May 2 and 4 at the newly renovated Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.