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Osmo Vänskä to give final bow as Minnesota Orchestra's conductor: 'We are playing for people's hearts'

MINNEAPOLIS -- This weekend marks the end of a historic era in music in the Twin Cities.

Osmo Vänskä will leave his post as the music director and conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. The world-renowned musician will be featured in the New York Times this weekend as he says farewell to his orchestra on Sunday.

WCCO spoke with the music legend and asked him what he will miss most.

"I will miss the orchestra, I will miss this organization. This has been my home orchestra 19 years," Vänskä said. "Things are going so well. I am going to miss that."

His love for music started long ago in Finland, when his parents would bring him along to concerts.

"The orchestra made a good feeling for me," he said.

Vänskä says he still gets excited, every single concert. And his enthusiasm is contagious. Michael Sutton has played violin for Vänskä for all 19 years he's been in Minnesota.

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Osmo Vänskä CBS

"His attention to detail is astonishing, and every time I think I've got my standards up to the right level, he shows me that there's another level."

And that is what Vänskä is known for. He guest conducts in Korea, London, all over Scandinavia and beyond -- but he chose Minnesota as home.

"When you go to the north of Minneapolis it looks very much like Finland. A lot of lakes, a lot of forests," he said.

Soon, he'll have a little more time to enjoy the area and the rest of the world as he ends this very well played run.

"We are playing for people's hearts. It's about our life, and there is always a corner in my life which I can feel the music goes through," he said.

Vänskä is not retiring. He will continue to come back as a guest conductor once a year, he will also be guest conducting around the world.

The shows are sold out this weekend, but the orchestra may have extra tickets if you call 612-371-5656.

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