In Wednesday’s (5/6) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Ever since the Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska became the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003, he has been inspiring the players, delighting critics and ushering in an era of growth and dynamism for this 106-year-old ensemble. … Mr. Vanska, lanky and exuberant at 56, led the Minnesotans in an impressively played and exciting program of Sibelius and Beethoven at Carnegie Hall on Monday night. The program opened with an engrossing account of ‘The Wood Nymph,’ a rarely heard Sibelius tone poem, completed in 1895 when the composer was 30. This was the work’s first hearing at Carnegie Hall. … Mr. Vanska’s Finnish background may give him an edge in conducting Sibelius. Still, nationality is overrated as a key to insight, as the charismatic Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos demonstrated in a magnificent account of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. … The ovation for the bracing, fresh and texturally transparent account of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony that ended the concert was also ecstatic. … it was a pleasure to hear the piece played with such rhythmic vitality and scrupulous attention to detail, free of an interpretive agenda.”

Posted May 7, 2009