Press Room

Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra Begin a New Season

Five new musicians join the Orchestra’s ranks

The season opens with Elgar’s Enigma Variations and features Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen in his Minnesota Orchestra debut

The Minnesota Orchestra and Music Director Osmo Vänskä start a new season of music at Orchestra Hall with performances on September 19, 20 and 21. The 2019-20 season opening weekend—highlights of which also include a ticketed dinner and post-concert CD signings by Vänskä—features Einojuhani Rautavaara’s A Requiem in Our Time, the Minnesota Orchestra’s first performance of Elliott Carter’s Three Illusions for Orchestra, Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto performed by Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen in his Minnesota Orchestra debut. The 2019-20 classical season, which runs through June 2020, will feature more than 21 guest soloists, 13 guest conductors and more than twenty 21st-century composers.

Five new musicians have just been added to the Orchestra’s roster and will appear onstage beginning this September. Previously announced, Sabina Thatcher has been appointed to the role of associate principal viola; violinists Hanna Landrum and Sophia Mockler join the second violin section; and the Orchestra’s Rosemary and David Good Fellowship program continues for a third year with the arrival of bassoonist Kai Rocke, who will join the bassoon section for designated concerts throughout the next two seasons. The latest addition to the roster is violinist Emily Switzer, a recent graduate of the Yale School of Music and former co-concertmaster of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, who was just named as a member of the Orchestra’s second violin section. Visit for profiles on each of these new Minnesota Orchestra members.

Season Opening with Osmo Vänskä concerts are performed at the ensemble’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, September 19, at 11 a.m.; Friday, September 20, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, September 21, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $24 to $125. More information is available at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director, is renowned internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. He has led the Orchestra on five European tours, as well as an August 2018 visit to London’s BBC Proms, and on historic tours to Cuba in 2015 and South Africa in 2018. His recording projects with the Minnesota Orchestra have also met with great success and recognition, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies on the BIS Records label. More:


Juho Pohjonen, piano
Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen performs widely in Europe, Asia and North America, collaborating with symphony orchestras and playing in recital and chamber settings. An ardent exponent of Scandinavian music, he has a growing discography which offers a showcase of compositions by such compatriots as Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho. In the 2019-20 season, he debuts with the New Jersey Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, in addition to recital debuts at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Steinway Society of the Bay. In the U.S., he has performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Pacific Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic, and at the Mostly Mozart Festival. More:

Rautavaara: A Requiem in Our Time, for Brass and Percussion
As a young man, the Finnish composer Rautavaara wrote A Requiem in Our Time in memory of his late mother. Scored for brass and percussion without strings, the work launched the composer’s international career in 1954 when it won an American composition competition and was premiered in Cincinnati. Music Director Osmo Vänskä selected this piece to open the program in his first concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra after being named the ensemble’s Music Director Designate in 2001.

Grieg: Piano Concerto
This virtuosic keyboard showcase, written when its composer was only 25, reveals its heritage in evocations of traditional Norwegian song and dance, and contains a wealth of themes and dramatic gestures.

Carter: Three Illusions for Orchestra
This colorful work from a long-lived composer—premiered when he was 96—calls for a large orchestral complement but uses those forces sparingly. Its three movements draw inspiration from disparate sources: Don Quixote’s imaginings, the quest for the fountain of youth, and Thomas More’s dream of a utopian society. 

Elgar: Enigma Variations
Thirteen of Elgar’s closest friends, as well as the composer himself, are depicted in this musical portrait gallery. A highlight is the poignant Nimrod, which starts quietly and builds to a sonorous emotional climax.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall
Friday, September 20, 2019, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, September 21, 2019, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Juho Pohjonen, piano

RAUTAVAARA                A Requiem in Our Time, for Brass and Percussion
GRIEG                                Piano Concerto
CARTER                             Three Illusions for Orchestra
ELGAR                               Enigma Variations

Tickets: $24 to $125

Ticket information and details about the Season Opening Dinner can be found at

Music Director Osmo Vänskä will sign autographs in the Orchestra Hall lobby following each performance of the Season Opening concert weekend. CDs, including the newly-released recording of Mahler’s First Symphony, will be available for purchase at the merchandise cart.


Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (Stage door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Skyway-accessible Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant,
thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
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Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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