MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 26, 2014) — The Minnesota Orchestra and former Music Director Osmo Vänskä received a Grammy Award for their recording of Jean Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies, recorded on the BIS Records label.
The award is the Orchestra’s first-ever Grammy in the Best Orchestral Performance category, as well as the first Grammy for Vänskä and for BIS. The announcement was made at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
“I want to congratulate the Orchestra and Osmo on this outstanding honor and to offer my thanks to the many generous donors who have made possible the Orchestra’s recording projects,” said Michael Henson, the Orchestra’s President and CEO. “This institution has an illustrious recording history that dates to the 1920s, and today’s award is a brilliant achievement in that long legacy.”
Vänskä and the Orchestra recorded the two symphonies at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall in sessions during May and June 2012, partnering with the BIS recording team led by producer Robert Suff.
In celebration of the Grammy Award, the Orchestra will perform concerts at Orchestra Hall on March 27 to 29, 2014, featuring the same repertoire—Sibelius’ Symphonies No. 1 and 4—with Vänskä conducting. Earlier in the season, at the Orchestra’s homecoming concerts from February 7 to 15, 2014, audience members will receive a complimentary copy of the Grammy-winning Sibelius recording.
The Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924 and has since recorded more than 450 works. Two additional recent recordings under Vänskä’s direction, both produced by BIS, also earned Grammy nominations in the Best Orchestral Performance category: a 2007 album of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, performed with four vocal soloists and the Minnesota Chorale; and a disc of Sibelius’ Second and Fifth Symphonies, released in 2012.
Among the Orchestra’s additional recordings with ties to the Grammys are a 2002 disc of works by Minnesota composer Dominick Argento, a recording that earned the composer the 2004 Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition; and three historic albums from the 1940s and ’50s selected for inclusion in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Further information about the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sibelius symphonies discs and its other acclaimed recordings under Vänskä’s direction can also be found on the BIS website, www.bis.se.
The Grammy Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in the recording industry, are presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The other ensembles nominated for this year’s Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance were the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Mozart and Berlin Philharmonic. A full listing of Grammy Award winners can be found at the Grammy website, grammy.com.