VSO Music Director
‘The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conjured up clouds of fluid, silky sounds of all dynamic ranges. All these extreme contrasts were brought together with great precision, masterly framed by Otto Tausk.’
Olga de Kort, Bachtrack
Dutch conductor Otto Tausk is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Advisor of the VSO School of Music, now in his fourth season. He is also Chief Conductor of Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel, and until spring 2018, was Music Director of the Opera Theatre and Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen. He appears as a guest with such orchestras as Concertgebouworkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the orchestras of Perth, Tasmania, Auckland, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he made his BBC Proms debut in August 2018. He is a hugely respected musical personality in his native Holland, working with all its major orchestras and composers.
Over the past year in Vancouver Tausk led an innovative reimagined season in response to the COVID-19 crisis, showcasing the orchestra with a curated series of digital performances. In the 2021/22 season, he continues guesting relationships with orchestras such as Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Orchestre National de Belgique. In Vancouver, his season will feature a concert performance of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, works by five indigenous composers alongside many contemporary Canadian works including six new commissions. 2021/22 also marks the beginning of a multi-season project combining the symphonies of Schumann with a new commissioned work. With Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel, programming highlights include performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. In the opera pit, this season he conducts the world premiere of Michel van der Aa’s new opera ‘Upload’, with appearances worldwide at the Dutch National Opera, Oper Köln, Bregenzer Festspiele and Park Avenue Armory in New York. In St. Gallen, Tausk conducted the world premiere of ‘Annas Maske’, by Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, the Swiss premiere of George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’, Korngold’s ‘Die Tote Stadt’ and other titles including ‘Don Giovanni’, ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, ‘Eugene Onegin’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’.
Tausk has recorded with the Concertgebouworkest (Luc Brewaeys, and an animated version of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’), Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen (Korngold and Diepenbrock), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn) and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Gavin Bryars) amongst others. For the cpo label in 2011 Hans Pfitzner’s enchanting Orchesterlieder garnered international praise, not least the Classica France’s ‘Choc du mois’. His Prokofiev disc with Rosanne Philippens also received BBC Music Magazine Concerto Disc of the Month (2018).
Born in Utrecht, Otto Tausk initially studied violin and then conducting with Jonas Aleksa. Between 2004 and 2006, Tausk was assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a period of study that had a profound impact on him. In 2011 Tausk was presented with the ‘De Olifant’ prize by the City of Haarlem. He received this prestigious award for his contribution to the Arts in the Netherlands, in particular his extensive work with Holland Symfonia serving as Music Director 2007 to 2012. In reflecting on their work together in The Netherlands, Valery Gergiev paid particular tribute to Tausk on this occasion.