2000: He makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut with an all-Finnish program. "Word afterward was that the [musicians] liked working with Vänskä — a lot," writes Star Tribune critic Michael Anthony.
2001: He agrees to become the orchestra's 10th music director in 98 years, beginning in September 2003.
2002: Guesting in the orchestra's centennial season, he signals his commitment to new music with a piece by Chinese-American composer Tan Dun.
2003: Moving into a downtown condo (with sauna), he greets the community with free concerts at Lake Harriet and Peavey Plaza.
2004: After a reputation-building tour of Europe with violinist Joshua Bell, the orchestra sets out to record the complete Beethoven symphonies.
2005: Musical America names him Conductor of the Year while New Yorker critic Alex Ross hails him for delivering "transcendent performances on an almost routine basis."
2006: Vänskä takes a chance on Abba, donning a flowery white suit for his first pops concert. But he also takes the orchestra to the BBC Proms in London and champions emerging composers with what's now an annual weeklong intensive, the Composer Institute.
2007: The orchestra gets a Grammy nomination for its recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
2008: He receives an honorary doctorate from University of Minnesota while the American Composers Forum honors him with its first Champion of New Music Award.
2009: The orchestra returns to Europe with Bell and extends its music director's contract through 2014-15.
2010: Showered with plaudits for concerts in Europe and New York, Vänskä is named the Star Tribune's Artist of the Year. His response: "The main thing is, we are on the right track. ... There might be time to celebrate two minutes. But then it is done."
2011: The orchestra hires a new concertmaster — his future wife, Erin Keefe — and embarks on a new recording cycle, the symphonies of Finland's Jean Sibelius.
2012: As it prepares to close Orchestra Hall for a remodeling project, management seeks a 34% cut in musicians' base pay, pointing to persistent deficits. Talks break down and the longest-ever work stoppage for any U.S. orchestra begins Oct. 1.
2013: Vänskä leads the locked-out musicians in a celebratory concert after the second Sibelius disc gets a Grammy nomination. He resigns in October after talks fail again, then conducts three "farewell" concerts that leave the audience in tears.
2014: A contract settlement in January ends the 16-month lockout, followed by more good news: a Grammy win for the orchestra's second Sibelius disc and the rehiring of Vänskä. "I love this orchestra," he says. "It's not too much to say it's like my child."
2015: He weds Keefe on Easter morning, then leads the orchestra to Cuba — a feat of musical diplomacy that also helps mend relations between musicians and management.
2016: He brings the orchestra back to Europe, inaugurates the Vikings' new stadium with a pregame concert and launches a new recording cycle, the Mahler symphonies.
2017: As Minnesota celebrates Finland's centennial, he welcomes its president to Orchestra Hall.
2018: Orchestra scores another first with a tour of South Africa, including a stop in Soweto that provides the emotional high point. Having turned 65, Vänskä says he'll step down in 2022.
2019: Plans are announced for one last groundbreaking tour: Vietnam and South Korea.
2020: The tour is scotched by the pandemic but the orchestra forges ahead with small outdoor concerts and an ambitious series of livestreamed shows.
2021: London-based Gramophone magazine names the ensemble its Orchestra of the Year.
2022: Bringing his Minnesota tenure full circle, he starts the new year with a festival devoted to his countryman Sibelius — music he says he feels in "the deepest possible way." The orchestra names him conductor-emeritus, guaranteeing he'll return in years to come.