Turku University Choir (established in 1987) is a mixed choir of approximately 60 singers from all the faculties and even outside of the university. In August 2016 Elisa Huovinen started her work as the choir’s conductor.
The choir’s repertoire mainly consists of a wide variety of a cappella songs. The choir can be found performing in Turku as well as other cities many times throughout the year. Traditionally, there is a quartet concert in January, a spring concert right after May Day (Vappu) and an Advent concert in December.
Turku University Choir has participated in many venues outside of Finland. In 2006 the choir represented Finland in the international choir competition in Coleraine, Ireland. The competition could not have gone any better as the choir won in the category of mixed choir and was given the best choir -award. In addition to this, Slavonic Tractor, a group of choir members, won in the female choir category. In spring 2008, the choir visited Stavanger, Norway, where the Nordic student music festival was held (NSSS, Nordisk student sångar stämma). The choir held a concert at Madlamark Church and then performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana together with 23 other choirs at the gala concert. Turku University Choir has participated in NSSS various times. The latest NSSS was held in spring 2017 in Oulu, Finland. In autumn 2011 the choir competed in Rimini International Choral Competition in Italy, where they were rewarded with a gold diploma. In 2016 the choir travelled to Berlin, Germany, where they held concerts successfully performing their spring program. The latest journey abroad was made in spring 2018 when the choir travelled to Lithuania, where they participated in the international Kaunas Cantat -competition. The choir was rewarded with a gold diploma in contemporary and folk music categories. In addition the choir won the contemporary music category overwhelmingly. In Grand prix the choir won the second prize. They were also praised for the most interesting program and the best interpretation of a contemporary piece.
In addition to travelling abroad, Turku University Choir has also toured in Finland making connections with other Finnish choirs and also hosting reputable international choirs in Turku. Over the years the choir has established its position as a keeper of a cherished academic singing tradition at the University of Turku. Included in its long-established repertoire are university songs as well as drinking songs. The choir has earned its place as an important part of the University of Turku and Student Union celebrations, such as the TYY annual ball. There are also many small groups in the choir’s circle whose performances have become favourite numbers at private functions as well as business and community celebrations.
The choir has released five albums. The latest was the Christmas album Valoa (‘Light’), released in November 2008, which features pieces by Sibelius and Mozart, among others. The 2004 album Pikavuaro Turkku (‘Express Bus to Turku’) depicts the theme of longing through the songs of Heiniö, Kuuskankare, Poulenc and Pärt as well as the poetry of Heli Laaksonen. This unique album’s content includes songs with and without words as well as both spoken and sung poetry. The choir was in the recording studio in 2002 when Juoma janon sammuttaa (‘A Drink to Quench Your Thirst’) was released, an album of drinking songs arranged for a mixed choir. The second album, Pelkkää ilmaa (‘Nothing but Air’), including J. Karjalainen’s songs for a mixed choir, was released in autumn 2001. Turku University Choir released its first album Calme des Nuits, in 1997. This album included music of the English, French and Russian romantic era. In spring 1999, Yleisradio gave Calme des Nuits -album the honour of the best non-professional choir album of 1998.