Busy times for Finnish choirs

Two established Finnish choirs, Helsinki Chamber Choir (Helsingin kamarikuoro) and YL Male Voice Choir (Ylioppilaskunnan laulajat) are having several concerts in Central Europe this spring.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir has been invited to the Tenso Days professional choirs’ festival in Belgium. On May 16, the choir, conducted by its Artistic Director Nils Schweckendiek, will perform music by Kalevi Aho, Lotta Wennäkoski, Beat Furrer and Einojuhani Rautavaara at the St Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen. The choir will also serve as the rehearsal choir for an international conducting masterclass with Fredrik Malmberg and Daniel Reuss, and take part in the world premiere of Visioni ed Estasi by Wim Henderickx, an ambitious new work which brings together three professional and six amateur choirs.

Finland’s oldest Finnish language choir YL will tour Germany and Switzerland also in May 2015. The concerts take place at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele on May 15, at St. Peter's Church in Zürich on May 26, and at Kultur Casino Bern on May 28 and 29. The concerts in Ludwigsburg and Bern will feature Sibelius' Op. 6 Kullervo with orchestra, soprano and baritone. The concert in Zürich is a cappella with masterpieces from Sibelius and his compatriots. The YL is conducted by Pasi Hyökki.

Several choral events are happening in Finland too during this spring and early summer. The International Leevi Madetoja Male Voice Choir Competition will be held for the sixth time on April 17–19 at Tampere Hall. Sibelius’ Kullervo will be performed in this event too, this time with 150 choir singers altogether. Vaasa Choir Festival on May 13–17 includes nearly one hundred concerts during the five days of the Festival.  

On June 3–7 the Tampere Vocal Music Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary as well as the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius. The festival will put up an exhibition detailing the genesis and context of Sibelius’s choral works, accompanying a concert programme that features a broad selection of these works. Tampere Vocal Music Festival is the biggest vocal music festival in Finland, with 47 performing choirs, most of them from Finland.