Artistic director Kari Turunen

Kari Turunen

An Art of Presence

The process of designing this year’s Tampere Vocal Music Festival has been a balancing act between the traditional and the new. In external terms, not much has changed, but we have sought to fill this familiar framework with content that responds to current issues in our time and in our environment.

The traditional cornerstones of the Festival – the Contest for Vocal Ensembles and the Chorus Review – give a forum for highly trained ensembles on the one hand and for choirs of all shapes and sizes on the other. The concluding concerts of these events are an important part of the Festival’s concert offering and provide an excellent showcase of the state of the art in vocal ensemble and choral music. The other concerts at this year’s Festival serve up a varied menu of vocal music, from folk to Medieval and from popular to contemporary classical. An added splash of colour comes from our international guest artists, the Vancouver Chamber Choir from Canada and AORA and The Real Group from Sweden.

In addition to these prominent elements, we feature a rich selection of training opportunities, from a choir conducting masterclass to panel discussions at the Choir Forum at Tampere Hall. These discussions address issues of social and musical significance, from improvisation to equality. The Festival offers excellent potential for both structured and informal talks between ensemble singers, choral singers, choir conductors and concertgoers. Rambling in-depth conversations in cafés and clubs prompted by concerts and training sessions are also an important part of the Festival experience.

In 2021, because of the pandemic, the Tampere Vocal Music Festival was held as a wholly virtual event. The important thing this summer is that we can all meet in person again. Polyphonic singing is an art of presence. No technology can ever replace the phenomenon of singing together in the same place or the physical experience of a vocal ensemble or choir performing live. This summer in Tampere, we have every reason to be happy that we can see each other again and feel the power of singing together.