Vänskä to take part in Minnesota Orchestra's new season

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Osmo Vänskä is returning to the Minnesota Orchestra – at least temporarily.

Minnesota Public Radio says the beloved music director, who resigned from his position in October amid the prolonged lockout of the musicians, will be among the orchestra's notable guests this season.

The orchestra announced a series of 41 concerts on Friday. Vänskä will conduct six of them, including one April 15 featuring acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell.

Vänskä's first set of concerts will be March 27-29, which will celebrate the orchestra's Grammy-nominated Sibelius Symphony recordings.

He will also lead two concerts to mark the reopening of Northrop Auditorium in early May.

Musicians with the orchestra tell MPR they're hopeful Vänskä's inclusion in the concert series is a sign of a possible permanent return.

"We know that Osmo is important to our organization on every level," says principal cellist Tony Ross. "He is a brilliant leader, a brilliant conductor and we look forward to working with him some more."

Management and the musician's union settled their 15-month-long labor dispute earlier this month with an agreement on a new three-year contract.

The Pioneer Press says other noted guests in the upcoming five-month orchestra season include former music director Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, celebrated cellist Steven Isserlis and 22-year-old Russian piano virtuoso Daniil Trifonov

The classical subscription series begins Feb. 7-8 with two concert to be conducted by Skrowaczewski. Announcements about Sommerfest and the pops season are expected next week.

The Star Tribune says the orchestra will also fulfill a commitment to a weeklong residency in Hibbing May 5-10. The residency is funded by the State Arts Board.

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