The Minnesota Orchestra's celebrated music director, Osmo Vänskä, has announced he will step down from his role in 2022.
The 2021-22 will be the Finn's last leading the orchestra, marking his 19th year as director, which will make his tenure the joint longest in its history along with founding director Emil Oberhoffer and sixth director Stanisław Skrowaczewski.
Vänskä became the orchestra's 10th music director in September 2003, sparking "one of the great musical partnerships in Minnesota Orchestra history," the orchestra said in a release announcing his eventual departure.
"Over the course of his tenure, Vänskä has consistently led the Minnesota Orchestra in performances of rare insight and virtuosity, whether in its acclaimed concerts at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, through its celebrated recording initiatives or via its five international tours to Europe," it added.
Vänskä said that the end of his current contract in 2022 is "the right time for different leadership and new directions for both the orchestra and me."
"I feel more than ever that the Minnesota Orchestra is my orchestra," he said. "We have explored so much together, and I cannot begin to say what the Minnesota Orchestra and this community mean to me.
"The orchestra musicians always give of themselves totally, and making music here is a great, deep joy."
"Osmo Vänskä is a leader of great integrity," said Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson.
"His work ethic, his commitment to excellence, his humility and humanity have always aligned with the things we value most in our community, and that is why this is a partnership for the ages. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Osmo in new ways going forward."