The Vancouver Chamber Choir is pleased to announce that Dr. Kari Turunen has been appointed as the Choir’s new Artistic Director, beginning in the 2019-2020 concert season.
Board President George Laverock said, “After an extensive search over 15 months, and after enjoying the work of six wonderful guest conductors, our board has unanimously supported the appointment of prominent Finnish choral conductor Dr. Kari Turunen. Our Search Committee, our professional singers and many of our loyal audience members will be elated to learn that a conductor of the calibre of Dr. Turunen is planning to devote himself to the future artistic goals of the Vancouver Chamber Choir.”
Dr. Turunen is presently the artistic director of the male chorus Akademiska Sångföreningen, Kampin Laulu chamber choir, the choir of the cantors of the Finnish Lutheran Church, Chorus Cantorum Finlandiae, Ensemble Petraloysio and the Spira Ensemble. He has won numerous prizes at national and international festivals with his groups and was named choral conductor of the year in Finland in 2008. He studied at the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy and holds a Master’s degree in choral conducting and a Doctorate in Early Music performance practice. Before becoming a full-time conductor he taught choral conducting and was the head of choral activities at the School of Music of the Polytechnic University of Tampere from 2001 to 2011. He is also a founding member of Lumen Valo, a professional vocal ensemble of eight voices. Since the mid-1990s he has been the chairman of the Finnish Choral Directors’ Association and is the artistic director of Aurore, an annual Renaissance music festival in Helsinki.
“I am humbled to be chosen as Artistic Director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir,” said Dr. Turunen. “While the position has been held by the illustrious figure of Jon Washburn, I feel calm and confident. These are big shoes to fill. Working with the singers last September was positive. I enjoyed the professional competence, the warm-hearted character of the group and believe this change will lead to something wonderful!”
Current Artistic Director Jon Washburn will assume his new role as Founder and Conductor Emeritus this summer and will continue to be involved with some of the Choir’s award-winning educational programs.
“I’m delighted with the appointment of Kari Turunen as the new Artistic Director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir,” said Mr. Washburn. “He has all the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to lead the Choir for many years to come. I look forward to attending his concerts and collaborating with him on future projects.”
Founded in 1971, the 20-voice Vancouver Chamber Choir is one of Canada’s outstanding professional vocal ensembles and has been praised for its diverse repertoire and performing excellence.