The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, is recognized for distinguished performances around the world, award-winning recordings, radio broadcasts, educational engagement programs, and commitment to building the orchestral repertoire of the future.
Founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the ensemble played its first regional tour in 1907 and made its New York City debut in1912 at Carnegie Hall, where it has performed regularly ever since. Outside the U.S., the Orchestra has played concerts in Australia, Canada, Europe, the Far East, Latin America, and the Middle East. In 2015 Vänskä and the Orchestra performed two historic concerts and collaborated in educational projects in Havana, Cuba, becoming the first major American orchestra to perform in the island nation since the U.S. and Cuban governments announced steps to normalize relations between the two countries. Under Vänskä, the ensemble has undertaken four European tours and made numerous tours to Greater Minnesota. In August 2016 Vänskä and the Orchestra toured Europe together for the fifth time, visiting venues in Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Lahti, Finland.
The Orchestra’s recordings have drawn acclaim since the early 1920s, when the ensemble became one of the first to be heard on disc. Under Vänskä’s leadership, the Orchestra has undertaken several acclaimed recording projects, including highly-praised cycles of the Beethoven and Sibelius symphonies; piano concertos of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Mozart; Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn; and recent in-concert recordings of Sibelius’ Kullervoand Kortekangas’ Migrations. In June 2016 the Orchestra began a series of Mahler recordings with the Fifth Symphony; this season it will record the Second and Sixth.
The Orchestra’s season encompasses nearly 175 programs annually, held primarily at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis and heard live by 300,000 individuals. The Orchestra connects with more than 85,000 music lovers annually through family concerts and educational programs including Young People’s Concerts. Through its innovative Common Chords program of week-long residency festivals, the Orchestra has been welcomed in recent seasons to the Minnesota cities of Grand Rapids, Willmar, Hibbing, Bemidji, and Detroit Lakes. The Orchestra has commissioned and/or premiered more than 300 compositions and has won 20 awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).