Kari Turunen is a Finnish free lance choral conductor and ensemble singer. He is the artistic director of five ensembles: the male chorus Akademiska Sångföreningen (since 2008); Kampin Laulu chamber choir (2011–); the choir of the cantors of the Finnish Lutheran Church, Chorus Cantorum Finlandiae (2011–); the all-male Ensemble Petraloysio (2011–); and Spira Ensemble (2012–). He has won numerous prizes at national and international festivals with his groups. Kari Turunen was named choral conductor of the year in Finland in 2008.
Kari Turunen was educated at the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy. He has a master’s degree in choral conducting and a doctorate in early music performance practice from the University of the Arts, Helsinki. He tries to balance scholarly activities with his artistic work and firmly believes that scholarship and performance can greatly benefit each other.
In addition to his work with his regular ensembles, Kari Turunen is a sought-after guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician and teacher of choral conducting, both in Finland and abroad. He has also acted as the chairman of the Finnish Choral Directors’ Association from the mid-90’s until 2017 and is the artistic director of Aurore, an annual Renaissance music festival in Helsinki.
Before becoming a full-time conductor, Dr. Turunen 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. Lumen Valo has been a driving force on the early music scene in Finland since its conception in 1993 and has made a name for itself in almost 250 concerts around Finland and Europe. The group has recorded nine CD’s, all of them critically acclaimed for their fresh programming and quality of singing.
An ageing, but still enthusiastic sportsman, Kari Turunen devotes time especially to playing cricket. A survivor of several marathons, he has also played cricket for his country, captaining the Finnish national team in 2003–2004. His passions outside family, work and sports include reading fiction, sweating on Sudoku puzzles, traveling, walks with his Parson-Russel terrier and creative procrastination.