BEST CONDUCTOR - 1998
Comparisons are invidious (and the Twin Cities maestro scene has been fairly static for several years now), but it would be fitting to honor a conductor much venerated here, Klaus Tennstedt, who passed away this January. Tennstedt was one of those rare maestri as beloved by musicians as audiences; his presence on the Minnesota Orchestra podium was a guarantee that the basic repertoire would be honestly and excitingly served. He'd paid his dues and stuck to his knitting: A Tennstedt all-Beethoven concert was never any cause for complaint, and a 1984 Mahler Fourth Symphony could induce an out-of-body experience. Tennstedt's later career was curtailed by illness, and his farewell Minnesota Orchestra appearances were in November of 1989. Still, for many Minnesotans who experienced his art, Tennstedt will be remembered as the best a conductor could be.