Maestro Otto Tausk announced as next music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra



The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is pleased to announce that Maestro Otto Tausk will become Music Director beginning July 1, 2018, for the VSO’s 100th Anniversary Season. Tausk will also become Artistic Advisor to the VSO School of Music, and Artistic Advisor to the VSO Institute in Whistler. He succeeds the VSO’s longest serving music director, Maestro Bramwell Tovey, who will become Music Director Emeritus at the end of the 2017/2018 season. Maestro Tausk will hold the interim title of Music Director Designate until July, 2018, at which point he will assume full Music Director duties for the 2018/2019 season.

“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s next Music Director, and have enormous respect for this orchestra, which has placed its faith in my music-making and orchestral leadership skills,” said Maestro Otto Tausk. “From my very first rehearsal with the VSO, their drive, energy and ambition felt instinctive, and I knew that we could find a language together to write the next chapter, both on and off the podium.” 

Born in the Netherlands, Otto Tausk is an exciting artist and respected conductor on the world stage who has put together an impressive career, appearing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s ‘Green Umbrella’ Series, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and the radio orchestras of the BBC in the UK. Known as a collaborator of the highest order, he is widely respected for his extensive knowledge and orchestral prowess, achieving critical acclaim in Europe.

Tausk studied violin with Viktor Liberman and Istvan Parkanyi, as well as orchestral conducting with Jurjen Hempel and Kenneth Montgomery. He continued his studies with Lithuanian conductor and Professor Jonas Aleksa at the Vilnius Conservatoire. Between 2004 and 2006, Maestro Tausk was assistant to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, a period of study that had a profound impact on him.

“Maestro Tausk is a musician of the highest order. With a wide range of experience, Maestro Tausk will continue to focus on the ongoing artistic development and growth of the Orchestra, and on expanding our community engagement opportunities,” said Fred Withers, Vancouver Symphony Society Board Chair and chair of the search committee. “His perspective, charisma, energy and artistic vision for the future impressed the search committee and aligned well with the VSO’s goals for our 100th Anniversary Season, and beyond. Maestro Tausk is the ideal choice to lead the VSO into the next century of music-making.”

Currently, Tausk is music director of the Orchestra and Opera of St Gallen, Switzerland, a post he has held since 2012. His extensive discography includes recordings with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchestra St. Gallen in Switzerland.


“Finding a natural successor to the artistic and community accomplishments of Music Director Bramwell Tovey was no easy task, but Otto Tausk demonstrated extraordinary communication skills with the orchestra and our audiences,” said Kelly Tweeddale, President of the VSO and the VSO School of Music. “His innate curiosity, attention to detail, and passion for all forms of music made him the clear choice for our community, and I look forward to creating the next chapter of VSO’s rich musical legacy with Maestro Tausk.”

“I know we’ve found someone special in Otto Tausk,” said Vern Griffiths, Principal Percussionist, Chair of the Orchestra Artistic Advisory Committee and member of the Music Director Search Committee. “Right after the first rehearsal of his first visit, the musicians of the search committee immediately asked for him to be rebooked for the next season. He is an exceptional musician with really clear vision for what he’s working on right now, as well as vision for how he wants the orchestra to sound five years from now, and how to get there. He’s demanding but respectful, hard-working but having fun at the same time.  And it’s all about the music. I’m confident the city will find him as charming and impressive as we have, as we take the orchestra to the next level.”

Maestro Tausk made his debut with the VSO in January, 2016, and was immediately re-invited for a return visit in January, 2017. He was chosen after an extensive three-year search conducted by a committee representing musicians, board members, and staff, and will work in tandem with Kelly Tweeddale to lead the VSO for its next century. Maestro Bramwell Tovey will remain VSO Music Director until his eighteen-year tenure successfully concludes in June, 2018.

Diederik Gerbranda