Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters
College of Liberal Arts, October 18, 2008
Osmo Vänskä, native of Finland, became the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2003. He is praised for his intense and dynamic performances and is recognized for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. He is also known for the close rapport he establishes with the musicians he leads. He began his music career as a clarinetist; held the co-principal chair of the Helsinki Philharmonic; the principal chair of the Turku Philharmonic; graduated from the Sibelius Academy; served as the principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as a guest conductor of numerous major symphonies and has led many eminent orchestras in Europe. He has recorded extensively on the BIS and Hyperion labels and has amassed several awards, including a 1996 Gramophone Award and Cannes Classical Award for the original version of the Fifth Symphony, the 1993 Prix Académie Charles Cros for his first-ever complete recording of The Tempest, and his original version of the Sibelius Violin concerto with Leonidas Kavakos won 1991 Gramophone Awards for Record of the Year and Best Concerto Recording. He is the recipient of many honors and distinctions including an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. In 2005, Musical America named him Conductor of the Year.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.