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Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra for 15 years, Osmo Vänskä has led the Orchestra on five major European tours, as well as an historic trip to Cuba in 2015, at the invitation of the Cuban Ministry of Culture— the first visit by an American orchestra since the two countries announced steps to re-establish diplomatic relations. In 2018 he returned with the Orchestra to the BBC Proms before embarking on a five-city tour to South Africa as part of the world-wide celebration of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary. The tour, which marked the first by an American orchestra to the country, drew together South African and American performers featuring musical expressions of peace, freedom and reconciliation.
Other key highlights of his tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra include 17 album recordings (winning a Grammy Award in 2014 for Best Orchestral Performance for their second Sibelius album and being nominated in 2018 with the recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5), initiating and conducting the annual Future Classics concert, and various educational and outreach projects in Minneapolis and other cities.
In great demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Vänskä’s 2018-19 season includes re-invitations to the Chicago and New World symphonies and Seoul Philharmonic, and a return to China to work with Shanghai Symphony, and the China, Hangzhou and Hong Kong philharmonic orchestras. In Europe he makes one of his regular appearances with Helsinki Philharmonic and conducts the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Iceland Symphony orchestras.
A distinguished recording artist, primarily for the BIS label, Mr. Vänskä’s most recent recordings are of Mahler Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6, with the Minnesota Orchestra, followed by Symphonies Nos. 2 and 1, continuing the cycle dedicated to the composer. With Minnesota he has recorded the complete Beethoven and Sibelius symphony cycles, also for BIS, to rave international reviews, while recordings of Beethoven’s piano concertos with Yevgeny Sudbin have also garnered worldwide praise, including Grammy and Gramophone Award nominations.
Mr. Vänskä studied conducting at Finland’s Sibelius Academy and was awarded first prize in the 1982 Besançon Competition. He began his career as a clarinetist, occupying, amongst others, the co-principal chair of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. In recent years he has enjoyed a return to the instrument, including regular chamber music performances and a 2012 recording of Kalevi Aho’s chamber works.
Mr. Vänskä is the recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, the Finlandia Foundation’s Arts and Letters Award and the 2010 Ditson Award from Columbia University. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Minnesota and was named Musical America’s 2005 Conductor of the Year. In 2013 he received the Annual Award from the German Record Critics' Award Association for his involvement in BIS’s recordings of the complete works by Sibelius.
Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (The Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Grammy Award-nominated pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism and interpretive sensitivity.
Ms. Yang first came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet) and Best Performance of a New Work.
In the last decade, Ms. Yang has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), showcasing her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians through more than 1,000 debuts and re-engagements. She received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy Award nomination (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich.
Ms. Yang’s other notable orchestral engagements have included the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, and New Zealand symphony orchestras. She was also featured in a five-year Rachmaninoff concerto cycle with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony.
In 2020 Ms. Yang released her tenth album performing Jonathan Leshnoff’s Piano Concerto that was written for her with the Kansas City Symphony (Reference Recordings). As a champion of new music, Ms. Yang has also premiered and recorded Michael Torke’s Piano Concerto with the Albany Symphony and David Alan Miller (Albany Records). Ms. Yang’s wide-ranging discography also includes two celebrated solo discs (Collage and Wild Dreams, Avie Records). Ms. Yang also released a live-performance recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra (Bridge Records).
In recent years, Ms. Yang has focused on promoting creative ways to introduce classical music to new audiences. She served as the Guest Artistic Director for the Laguna Beach Music Festival in California, curating concerts that explore the “art-inspires-art” concept—highlighting the relationship between music and dance while simultaneously curating outreach activities to young students. Ms. Yang’s collaboration with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet of Half/Cut/Split was a marriage between music and dance to illuminate the ingenuity of Schumann’s musical language. The group toured nationwide, including five performances at the Joyce Theater in New York.
In the 2021-22 season, Ms. Yang will share her versatile repertoire in over 40 cities in the U.S. and Europe. After returning to the stage in summer performances at Wolf Trap (with the National Symphony), Grant Park Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival and Sun Valley Music Festival, Ms. Yang will appear with the New World Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony and Rhode Island Philharmonic, among many others. Furthermore, she will give a world premiere performance of Reinaldo Moya’s Piano Concerto with the Bangor Symphony, which draws inspiration from Venezuelen artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. In recital, Ms. Yang will present daring programs of Bach, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Kernis, as well as collaborate with the Takács Quartet.
Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea, Ms. Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at the age of four. In 1997 Ms. Yang moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. After winning The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just 12 years old. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.
Ms. Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She is a Steinway artist.
With a flair for inventive programming and a bold presence on stage and in the community, Chad Goodman has been praised for "bringing innovation to classical music" (Forbes).
As the Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony, Mr. Goodman conducts on subscription, education, family and holiday programs. His program, “SPARK: How Composers Find Inspiration,” blended captivating light design and videography with engaging audience participation to explore how a composition is created and brought to life by an orchestra.
Since 2018 Mr. Goodman has served as an Assistant Conductor to the San Francisco Symphony, assisting Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Simone Young and James Gaffigan among others.
As Founder and Artistic Director of Elevate Ensemble, Mr. Goodman’s ambitious vision for concert programming resulted in the pairing of music from Bay Area composers with underappreciated gems of the 20th and 21st centuries. Under his leadership, Elevate Ensemble established a Composer-in-Residence program and commissioned fifteen works from Bay Area composers. Elevate collaborated with photographers, videographers, poets and culinary artists, bringing new music and vibrant multi-genre experiences to unique venues such as yoga studios, historic Victorian homes and art studio warehouses.
Mr. Goodman has previously served as Conducting Fellow of Festival Napa Valley, Music Director of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Conducting Fellow of the Atlantic Music Festival, and a rehearsal and cover conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.
In addition to his performing career, he teaches young musicians the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to successfully navigate the world as a working musician in his workshop “You Earned a Music Degree. Now What?”
Mr. Goodman holds a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master of music degree from San Francisco State University. His mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, Alasdair Neale, Cyrus Ginwala and Martin Seggelke.