Helsinki Chamber Choir
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About Helsinki Chamber Choir
The Helsinki Chamber Choir is Finland's only professional chamber choir. The group has specialized in contemporary music, giving more than 65 world premieres since 2005. The group's origins are in Finland's national broadcasting system: it was founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, assuming the name Helsinki Chamber Choir (in Finnish: Helsingin kamarikuoro) in 2005. The Finnish Radio Choir's conductors were Harald Andersén, Kaj-Erik Gustafsson, Ilmo Riihimäki, Eric-Olof Söderström, and Timo Nuoranne. The group's relationship with Finland's Ondine record label began in the 1990s with the release of several albums of music by Einojuhani Rautavaara, including a complete cycle of his works for a cappella choir; they also issued Piae Cantiones, an album of early Finnish vocal music. The choir's repertory stretches from the Renaissance to the present, but its orientation toward new music strengthened when it was renamed the Helsinki Chamber Choir and named Kimmo Hakola as its music director in 2005; he was succeeded in 2007 by Nils Schweckendiek. In addition to concerts in Helsinki, the group often appears at Finnish music festivals and joins forces with a variety of instrumental groups with specialties ranging from the Baroque to contemporary music. The choir has toured Russia, Estonia, and Belgium. In addition to frequent concerts on Finnish radio and television, the Finnish Chamber Choir has performed Michael Haydn's Requiem and Rautavaara's Vigilia on the Europe-wide ARTE cable network.
Their 2010 world premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Graffiti, with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, was nominated for a Grammy award, and they participated in the world premiere of Veli-Matti Puumala's opera Anna Liisa in 2015. The choir's growing catalog includes albums on the Alba, Toccata Classics, and BIS labels, with the latter issuing the group's recordings of choral music by Erik Bergman as well as Riemuitkaamme!: A Finnish Christmas in 2017. ~ James Manheim