Conductor and clarinetist Osmo Vänskä was born in Finland and began his clarinet studies at the age of 11 at the music school in Kotka. He undertook further studies at the Sibelius Academy as a pupil of Sven Lavela, and spent a short but significant period as a pupil of Karl Leister in Berlin in 1974.
Vänskä has been the principal clarinetist of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra (1971-76) and co-principal clarinetist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (1977-82). He was the Artistic Director of the Crusell Festival in Uusikaupunki, Finland, from 1989 until 1993.
As a conductor, Mr. Vänskä has been the Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra since 2003 and previously spent twenty years as the Music Director of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. In January of 2020, he will begin his newest post as Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic. He is a frequent guest conductor of leading orchestras around the world and has enjoyed returning to the clarinet in recent years, performing chamber music regularly in Europe, Asia and the United States.
He has recorded Bernhard Henrik Crusell’s three Clarinet Quartets and Kalevi Aho’s Clarinet Quintet for the BIS label and is in the process of recording several duos for clarinet and violin which he has commissioned with his wife, violinist Erin Keefe.
Photo credit: Henri SELMER Paris / Laëtitia Lécuyer