Key Ensemble: History

History of Chamber Choir Key Ensemble

Turku-based Key Ensemble was founded in 2005, and it has been one of the most interesting top- class choirs in Finland for over fifteen years. During this time, the choir has become well-known for its full vocal sound and innovative concert programs and productions.

Award-winning recordings

Key Ensemble's first recording, Missa Baltica (2011), was given the Finnish Choral Record of the Year award. Missa Baltica also received the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) 2012, Classical Mucic, in the USA. The choir's second album, Ave Maria – Aurora borealis (2013),
won the latter award again in the spring of 2014. Key Ensemble's recording of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (2014) was an internationally acclaimed success, and it was given the Finnish Choral Record of the Year award in June 2015. Key Ensemble has also had international success in Let the Peoples Sing competition in Luxembourg, where the choir was victorious in 2013. Thanks to their album Cast into the Sea (2015), Key Ensemble received its third Choral Recording of the Year Award in June 2016.

Singers, repertoire, and visiting productions

Key Ensemble's work is period and production-based, and the choir has approx. 50 singers that can be contacted to choose a suitable ensemble for different productions. The choir's repertoire consists everything from Renaissance music to contemporary music. Key Ensemble has ordered and premiered several Finnish choral pieces. In addition to its own concerts, Key Ensemble has visited the Savonlinna Opera Festival as well as Turku, Naantali, Korsholma, Pellinge and Kauniainen Music Festivals, Tampere Vocal Music Festival, and Organ Night &Aria Festival, Tammisaari Summer Concerts, VocalEspoo Festival, and LuostoClassic Festival. Finnish National Broadcasting Company YLE has been one of Key Ensemble's most active partners for many years. The choir has performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki Music Hall.

China Tour

In the summer of 2019, Key Ensemble went on a 12-concert tour to Southern China, including performances in places like Canton Opera House. After the successful tour, the choir was invited for another visit in 2020, with a concert in Beijing's National Centre of Performing Arts, the most
highly-regarded concert hall in China. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rehearsal places

In the fall of 2014, Key Ensemble rented and renovated an old textile weaving hall in Barkerin verkatehdas. This was done with help from Finnish Cultural Foundation's Katapultti grant. Nicnamed Barcœur, the hall was a combined rehearsal and office space for the choir. In the spring
of 2022, the changes made at the old factory forced the choir to relocate to Turku's Taiteen talo arts center. At the moment, Key Ensemble does not a regular rehearsal space, so the artistic work is done in various places, such as local schools.

Financial base

Since 2009, Key Ensemble's goal has been to become a professional choir. Finnish Cultural Foundation's Katapultti grant in February 2014 gave Key Ensemble the much-needed financial support to form a stable foundation for its work. In December 2015, Key Ensemble received a grant
from Kone Foundation that allowed the choir to employ section leaders in 2016. Since January 2020, Arts Promotion Centre Finland's five-year grant (2020–2024) has given the choir a sound base for its operations. Key Ensemble has been a City of Turku's partner since 2011.

Other long-term financial supporters have been The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and Konstsamfundet association. This year's supporters can be found at the bottom of the page.

Artistic leaders

Key Ensemble has had three artistic leaders:

Ulf Långbacka 2005–2008
Teemu Honkanen 2009–2021
Jutta Seppinen 2022–