Media Release


For Immediate Release
Vancouver, BC – September 4, 2020


(Vancouver, BC – September 4, 2020) – The Vancouver Symphony Society (VSS) is pleased to announce the extension of Maestro Otto Tausk’s contract as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) to the end of the 2025-26 concert season.

In 2018 Tausk became the VSO’s ninth Music Director, Artistic Advisor to the VSO School of Music, and Music Director of the VSO Orchestral Institute. Since then he led the orchestra in its 100th anniversary season, a superlative 101st season and through the challenges of the COVID-19 period. He has welcomed a series of world-class guest artists to the VSO stage including Daniil Trifonov, Renee Fleming, Gidon Kremer, and Dawn Upshaw to name a few. He has commissioned new works from Canadian and international composers, curated the groundbreaking Music & Power and BeethovenFest festivals, and led the VSO in the inaugural Day of Music celebration.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my great pleasure to share this news with you,” said Etienne Bruson, Board Chair. “Maestro Tausk’s commitment and vision for this orchestra is clear and we are very happy to announce his continued leadership through the 2025-2026 season. The current COVID crisis is a major challenge for all performing arts organizations. Otto is the right leader to carry our musicians and the VSO’s artistic vision through this crisis and into a time when we can again connect with live audiences. I am thrilled that we have his commitment to be with us for the next 6 years.”

“Vancouver, the orchestra, the people, and the surrounding nature have proven to be an incredibly inspiring place where I love to be and work,” Tausk commented. “The first two years with an orchestra are really a honeymoon period where we build trust and a shared musical vision. I am very happy to report that our initial ‘click’ and connection has only become more exciting with time. It is now that we will dive into the deeper work, building a strong and meaningful relationship. We have much repertoire and many creative ideas to discover and share with our audience. We will announce shortly our new, digital 2020-21 season and I think you will see a lot of innovation in how we approach music making this year.”

Angela Elster, President & CEO, commented, “I am thrilled to share the helm of the VSO and the VSO School of Music with Otto. His talent, energy, artistry, and sincerity inspire the members of our orchestra and our audiences. The numerous sold-out concerts this past season are a testament to the immediate connection he creates with the public. Even as we plan for a re-imagined digital season in 2020-21, Otto is enormously involved in ensuring this meaningful work keeps our orchestra together, in shape, growing, and ever present in the community as we continue to create, curate and connect irresistible musical experiences”


At the same time as the VSO announces the extension of Tausk’s contract in Vancouver, Tausk announced he will be appointed chief conductor of the Phion Orchestra in his native Holland.

Tausk commented, “This is a very exciting opportunity for both me and the VSO. There is a lot of potential for collaboration between the two organizations and we are already exploring joint commissioning and virtual touring, which will only help expand the VSO’s presence on the global stage.”

The Phion concert season will open with Otto Tausk leading Beethoven’s 1st Symphony and a chamber orchestra version of Joep Franssen’s Piano Concert on September 11, 12 and 13.


“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, now in his third season. He is also the newly announced Chief Conductor of recently formed Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel. Until spring 2018, Tausk 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 Québec, 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.

In the 2020/21 season, Tausk continues guesting relationships with orchestras such as Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In Vancouver, Tausk will lead an innovative reimagined season in response to COVID-19, showcasing the orchestra with a curated series of digital performances.

In the opera pit, he will conduct Michel van der Aa’s new opera ‘Upload’, with the world premiere at Dutch National Opera, plus further appearances with the other co-commissioning parties including Oper Köln. 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.


Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the third largest orchestra in Canada, the largest arts organizations in Western Canada, and one of the few orchestras in North America to have its own music school. Led by Music Director Otto Tausk since 2018, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts each year, throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, reaching over 270,000 people annually.

The VSO presents passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds wherever it performs. The 2019-20 season featured leading international guest artists including Daniil Trifonov, Dawn Upshaw, Gidon Kremer, Bernadette Peters, Tan Dun, and more. The VSO will announce details of its reimagined 2020-21 season in mid-September.


On September 1, 2019, Het Gelders Orkest merged with Orkest van het Oosten. The new organisation has been operating under the name Phion, Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel since June 1, 2020. Phion’s aim is to be of significance to as many people as possible through the performance of live symphonic music. The orchestra brings a wide range of musical programmes to its audiences, aspiring to be both innovative and surprising. Phion actively engages with its audience, both inside and outside of concert halls. Phion offers something for everyone to discover.


Press Contact

Neil Middleton, 604-313-0738

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