Helsinki Chamber Choir and Uusinta Ensemble earn Grammy for Best Choral Performance

In the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony, held Feb 4th in Los Angeles, Helsinki Chamber Choir and Uusinta Ensemble received the award for their recording "Reconnaissance" in the category of Best Choral Performance.

Helsinki Chamber Choir (pictured above) and Uusinta Ensemble were honored with a Grammy for Best Choral Performance for their recording "Reconnaissance" (listen on Spotify or Apple Music) with Kaija Saariaho's music. Uusinta Ensemble is a contemporary music ensemble that collaborates with some of the most internationally acclaimed composers of our time.

The conductor and choir director of Helsinki Chamber Choir is Nils Schweckendiek, who has served as the choir's Artistic Director since 2007. Schweckendiek is also Professor of Choral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy in the University of Arts Helsinki and Artistic Director of the Helsinki Music Centre Chorus. He significantly contributes to the promotion of Finnish contemporary music by commissioning and premiering works by Finnish composers.

The title work "Reconnaissance" had its Finnish premiere at the Helsinki Festival in August 2022. The text for the composition was created by Saariaho's son, Aleksi Barrière. Saariaho, who passed away in June 2023, was one of Finland's most prominent composers of all time.

Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen was also nominated for his conducting of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite Of Spring" with the San Francisco Symphony. Salonen previously won a Grammy in 2009 for the Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance with Hilary Hahn and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

This year's list of Grammy nominees also featured notable Finns from the current global hip hop and R&B scene, with hip hop beatmakers MD$, Ruuben, and Danitello capturing the Recording Academy's attention for their contributions to Burna Boy's hit single and album.

Grammy Winner

Reconnaissance: Kaija Saariaho Choral Music

The Helsinki Chamber Choir and Uusinta Ensemble under Nils Schweckendiek perform choral music by Kaija Saariaho (BIS Records, 2023)