You have to skim pretty far down the New York Times story about Minnesota Orchestra conductor Osmo Vanska to get to the part that’s got the local artistic tongues wagging today: He has a romantic relationship with concertmaster Erin Keefe.
Mr. Vanska, who is divorced, says this is a private matter, unlikely to affect Ms. Keefe’s standing in New York or in Minneapolis, and that he would avoid taking part in any decisions relating to her status. “We are both professionals,” he added. Ms. Keefe declined to comment.
In orchestras, as in most professions, romantic relationships between fellow employees are not uncommon, and they seldom attract wide attention except when the partners represent different levels of authority. The board, Mr. Vanska said, knew of this relationship during the negotiations for his return. Asked whether the matter might have been a factor in the negotiations, he said: “There may be board members who take it as my being on the players’ side. And I’m guessing, but maybe that’s the reason they don’t want to give me any power.”
She’s probably fleeing the orchestra anyway, the Times reports. She’s auditioning for a position with the New York Philharmonic.
The Orchestra’s chairman Gordon Sprenger, issued the statement:
“Osmo was open with the board regarding his relationship with Erin Keefe. The Minnesota Orchestra Association and Osmo have addressed the issue in a manner that takes in account the interests of all involved. While we won’t comment publicly regarding the specific details of any negotiation, we are very pleased to have come to terms that reunite Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra.”
The waters appear fairly polluted at the Orchestra, where the paper says there remains resentment toward Vanska over his dramatic resignation at the height of the recent lockout.
Apparently enough resentment that someone is feeding the gossip directly to the New York Times.