Finns are chorus queens

Finns are chorus queens


norman lebrecht

November 06, 2018

The Finnish choir Exaudio has swept the women’s awards at the Prague International Choir Competition.

Exaudio, formed in 2008, has singers from Turku, Tampere, Vaasa, Åland and Helsinki. Its conductor is Hanna Kronqvist. 


  • Ted says:

    Finns are mostly known for their bassos. Matti Salminen, Martti Talvela, Kim Borg.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      I have often wondered whether Finns and Russians have lots of basses because of Orthodox choirs, or do these choirs exist because of local basses?

      • Pirkko says:

        Finland is a Lutheran country. The number of Orthodoxes is minimal.

      • Chris says:

        I remember many years ago when there was a new chorus being formed in Paris, by Arthur Oldham, the then legendary chorus master of the Edinburgh International Festival Chorus. He was wandering through the streets of the French capital, when he passed a Russian Orthodox Church from which came the strains of its choir. He was particularly taken by a bass voice which seemed to ‘stand out’ so he made some inquiries and left his card for the bass in question, who it transpired, possessed an impressive range of low notes. This may have been a ‘chicken and egg’ situation – which came first his voice, or his membership of the choir. Whatever, he was duly signed up for the new choir in Paris – I seem to recall it was attached to the then newly formed Orchestre de Paris. Perhaps someone on this thread could flesh out this story – it dates from pre-1978 I believe.

        • R. Brite says:

          Oldham did indeed found the Orchestre de Paris choir, in (consults Wikipedia) 1976. I used to work with his ex-wife, who once mentioned the story of the basso at, if memory serves, the old Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral in the 8th.

      • MWnyc says:

        Any Orthodox church would have a choir of some sort. The choirs have music with low bass parts because there are local basses; the music for other Orthodox churches (say, Greek or Syrian) doesn’t have low bass parts because they don’t have basses who can sing them.