Osmo Vänskä

Wikipedia

In the early 20th Century we started using term ‘melting pot’ more widely, even though it was used to describe America in the 1780s. That is mostly due to a play titled The Melting Pot. In it, the protagonist writes a symphony ‘expressing hope for a world in which all ethnicity has melted away.’ Years later, the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus tells the story of a dedicated but frustrated teacher who composes The American Symphony. Fast forward to 2011 and Adam Schoenberg writes American Symphony, inspired by the 2008 US election. 

Minnesota Orchestra

Over 150 years ago "The Great Migration" of Finns to the United States began, with many of the immigrants settling in the Midwest - especially in the "Finn Hook,"  that is, parts of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. To celebrate this, the Minnesota Orchestra and its Finnish music director Osmo Vänskä commissioned the composer Olli Kortekangas for a work on the theme of migration, suitable for performance alongside Jean Sibelius’s massive Kullervo. Vänskä spoke with WBAA's John Clare about these works and his new release.