AL 70th anniversary in 2023 - "On Wings"

The Academic Choral Society, the mixed choir of the student union of the University of Helsinki, will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2023. The theme of the anniversary year refers to nature, birds, and also to music. The beauty of  nature and the songs of birds have inspired composers throughout the ages as they pondered the mysteries and questions of life. Through this theme, the Academic Choral Society hopes to highlight the irreplaceable wonder and beauty of nature and foster discussion on its appreciation and preservation in partnership with the choir’s close connections in the academic community. 

Music offers wings across the borders of time and place as a universal language that unites people and helps them find solutions to obstacles. 

”This year’s theme pays homage to the Academic Choral Society’s long tradition and to nature’s most skilled singers - birds. The choir’s rich musical past and traditions are a fund of inspiration to this day. Besides the broad repertoire, we cherish the choir’s innovative concepts and interdisciplinary projects and take pride in the creative contribution that the choir, its singers and its conductors have made to the modern Finnish choral landscape. The choir’s active and constructive ideas and cooperation with scientific research have helped the choir through the difficult period of the Covid pandemic and made the choir an attractive instrument for aspiring choral singers”, says Dominik Vogt, the artistic director of the Academic Choral Society.

Vogt has conducted the Academic Choral Society since 2017 and through his help, the Academic Choral Society has fostered a strong connection with the German-speaking European music community. In 2021, the choir performed Der stille Hain, a seven-part work composed for the Academic Choral Society by Jürg Hanselmann a composer from Liechtenstein, which is set to the poems of Hermann Hesse. Nature is a central theme of this work, and will be performed again during this anniversary year.

In May 2023, the Academic Choral Society will make a concert trip to Vogt's homeland of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Anniversary Year Events:

  • Music for Kalevala Day - The anniversary year of the Academic Choral Society starts at 18:00, 28.2.2023, at Huvilakatu 1, Helsinki.
  • The University of Helsinki: Science Frictions -premiere of the promotional cantata on 20.3. 2023
  • “On Wings” Departure Concert 6.5.2023 at 18.00, at the Kirjan talo juhlasali
  • Auf den Flügeln der Musik - The Academic Choral Society’s performance tour in Liechtenstein and Switzerland 17.-21.5.2023
  • The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Philosophy Promotion 26.5.2023
  • The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Law Promotion16.6.2023
  • “On Wings”- The Academic Choral Society’s 70th Anniversary Concert 11.11.2023
  • Christmas Concert with the Academic Choral Society and the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra: Camille Saint-Saëns - Oratorio de Noël, December 2023

The program for the beginning of the year includes a promotional cantata and a concert trip - and ends with the “On Wings” celebration concert in November

The anniversary concert program is modern and ambitious, but also includes Finnish national romance and other foreign A Cappella music. Respecting academic traditions, The Academic Choral Society premieres Science Frictions, composed by Cecilia Damström to Cia Rinne's poem on March 20th at the 2023 promotion cantata of the University of Helsinki. The soloist of the promotional cantata is countertenor David Hackston and will be accompanied by the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra, which will also collaborate with the Academic Choral Society at the end of the year with a Christmas concert.

The anniversary year of the Academic Choral Society culminates in the “On Wings” celebration concert on November 11, 2023 in the ballroom of the University of Helsinki. The celebratory concert premieres works commissioned by the vice director of the choir, Teemu Tommola, who won a prize in the composition competition of the Finnish Women's Choir Association, and musician Juho Leppänen, who is one of the choir's singers.

The patron of the anniversary year is Saara Kankaanrinta 

Saara Kankaanrinta is the founder and chairman of the board of the Baltic Sea Action Group foundation and the Carbon Action platform. Kankaanrinta is also the founder and board member of the recycling fertilizer company Soilfood and the renewable energy innovation company Q Power.

Kankaanrinta and her husband are the owners of the Qvidja research farm and Gullkrona harbor, around which the largest private protected area in the Archipelago Sea has just been established. Kankaanrinta works globally for the Baltic Sea, climate, and diversity. She is also a non-fiction writer and an active columnist in the Ilta-Sanomat.

In 2019, Kankaanrinta was awarded The Globe Energy Award for her environmental actions. Kankaanrinta was awarded honorary doctor of mathematics and natural sciences at the University of Turku in 2022.

"Nature, diversity, and birds is a wonderful theme for the anniversary. In my work to preserve nature, I have noticed that more than just facts are needed. Everything in nature has rhythm and melody, and as a singing species, musicians hold great power. Humans are part of nature, and we share a common destiny. We are all in the same choir with other species," Kankaanrinta says.

Saara Kankaanrinta.