ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota Orchestra names Danish conductor Thomas Sondergard its new music director

Sondergard succeeds Osmo Vanska, who had led the orchestra since 2003.

stpsondergard730.jpg
Danish conductor Thomas Sondergard has been chosen as the 11th music director of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Courtesy / Andy Buchanan via St. Paul Pioneer Press
We are part of The Trust Project.

ST. PAUL -- Danish conductor Thomas Sondergard has been chosen as the 11th music director to lead the Minnesota Orchestra in its 120-year history.

Sondergard, 52, will be music director designate in the 2022-23 season before beginning his new role in September 2023. Under the terms of a five-year contract beginning in the 2023-24 season, he will lead the orchestra in at least 12 weeks of concerts and activities a year.

Sondergard succeeds Osmo Vanska, who had led the orchestra since 2003. The Finnish native conducted his final concerts as music director in June and will become the orchestra’s conductor laureate in September.

The orchestra got its first look at Sondergard as a conductor when he led performances last December and again in April.

“Our search committee sat up and took notice of the captivating concerts that Thomas Sondergard conducted with the Minnesota Orchestra,” board chair Joseph T. Green said in a news release. “Here was a conductor of the highest caliber who invited the musicians to make music with him, and the result was thrilling. We believe he will be a powerful advocate for our music and musicians in the years ahead. His humanity, artistry and collaborative approach are a great match for the orchestra and our community.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A native of Holstebro, Denmark, Sondergard studied percussion at the Royal Danish Academy of Music from 1989 to 1992, during which time he was also a percussionist in the London-based European Union Youth Orchestra. He joined the Royal Danish Orchestra as a timpanist in 1992 and was on the faculty of the Royal Danish Academy of Music from 2001 to 2002.

In 2005, Sondergard made his debut with the Royal Danish Opera, which launched him into the international spotlight. He has since worked with numerous orchestras across Europe and led ensembles on worldwide tours. In 2018, he became music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, following six seasons as that orchestra’s principal guest conductor. Sondergard will hold that post concurrently with his position in Minnesota.

“My impression of the Minnesota Orchestra is that it is an ensemble with tremendous heart,” Sondergard said. “There is a warmth, an openness and a cooperative spirit among the musicians that fits very well into the way that I like to make music. This is an organization with a long and wonderful history, and I’m honored to now be part of its future. My mind is full of possibilities for where we’ll start and what we’ll do together. I cannot wait to begin.”

Sondergard will make his debut as music director designate with three performances Oct. 20-22.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MUSIC
What to read next
Franz Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise” – or “Winter Journey” – can be considered a bucket list item for piano and voice performers, and two Bemidji State music professors have recently crossed it off their own lists.
Abbey McDonald, the former Bluejacket star, still has her “ups and downs,” but hopes her story can help others battling similar problems.
In its 2021 uniform crime report released Friday, Aug. 12, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported 201 murders, an 8.5% annual increase, and a 21.6% increase in violent crime. The previous murder record was set in 2020, when Minnesota had 185 murders — a 58% increase from the 117 reported in 2019.
Severe cold weather across the southern U.S. in February 2021 sent energy prices soaring across the U.S. due to gas supply disruptions and a spike in demand. While the weather had a particularly severe effect on Texas’ power grid, customers in Minnesota ended up seeing significant increases in prices. Customers of the state's gas utilities ended up getting charged around $660 million more than they normally would in February.