Kari Turunen is the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Before moving to Vancouver in 2019, he was a versatile actor on the Finnish choral and vocal music scene. After leaving a college-level teaching position in 2011, he has been a full-time conductor, clinician, adjudicator and lecturer, working not only in Finland, but also around Europe and Asia.
Dr. Turunen has been the Artistic Director of, among others, the following prominent Finnish choirs: Akademiska Damkören Lyran (1998–2009), Akademiska Sångföreningen (2008–2019); Kampin Laulu chamber choir (2011–2019); the choir of the cantors of the Finnish Lutheran Church, Chorus Cantorum Finlandiae (2011–2019); Spira Ensemble (2012–19) and the professional early music ensembles Ensemble Petraloysio and I Dodici, with which he continues to work sporadically. He was a founding member of Lumen Valo, a vocal ensemble that is one of the driving forces on the Finnish early music scene and sang tenor in the group for 26 years (1993–2019). With Lumen Valo he sang over 250 concerts in Finland and Europe and recorded nine critically acclaimed CDs. He has won numerous prizes with his choirs, both in national and international competitions.
In addition to artistic activities, Kari Turunen has been active in organizing festivals. He is, for example, the Artistic Director of the annual Aurore Renaissance Festival and the Finnish-Swedish Song Celebration in June 2021. He acted as chair of the Finnish Choral Directors’ Association (FCDA) 1997–2018. He was the Choral Conductor of the Year 2008 in Finland. He is the recipient of over 20 grants from The Finnish and Finnish-Swedish Cultural Foundations.
Kari Turunen was educated at the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy where he studied choral conducting (MA). He holds a doctorate in early music performance practice from the University of the Arts, Helsinki.