Simonkatu 8 A
+358-9-56 27 19 00
PR officer Mr Villiam Virkkunen
President Mr Alexander Zilliacus
Chief conductor Dr Kari Turunen
Bank: Aktia Bank Plc
IBAN: FI97 4055 1810 0000 87
The Academic Male Voice Choir of Helsinki—Akademiska Sångföreningen or Akademen in Swedish—is a Fennoswedish (i.e. Swedish-speaking) male voice student choir based in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
The choir was founded in 1838 by German-born Fredrik Pacius, music teacher at the Imperial Alexander University of Finland (today the University of Helsinki) and known as ‘the father of Finnish music.’ Akademen is thus the oldest extant Finnish choir, and the ties to the University are still important, although our members today hail from many different universities and colleges all around Helsinki.
At present, Akademen has around 60 active singers, most of whom are university students. However, quite a few choose to stay in the active choir long after graduation, which makes for a healthy mix of youth and experience. We give concerts regularly in Finland, and travel abroad as frequently as possible. In addition to all the Scandinavian and most European countries, Akademen has been on tour in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Ever since 1954, we have actively and regularly been collaborating with our University of Helsinki sister choir, The Academic Female Voice Choir Lyran.
After its founding in 1838, Akademen (or Akademiska Sångsällskapet as the choir’s earliest incarnation was called) became an important symbol of national awakening in the emerging Finnish nation. In 1848, the choir performed Pacius’ composition Vårt land (words by J. L. Runeberg) for the first time ever during the students’ Flora Day spring celebrations; the composition was later to become the national anthem of the independent Finland.
In 1883, Finnish-speaking members of the then-bilingual choir opted to establish a Finnish-language choir of their own—the YL Male Voice Choir, today one of Akademen’s brother choirs in Helsinki.
The 20th century saw several prominent conductors in charge of Akademen. Among these were famous composers Bengt Carlson, Nils-Eric Fougstedt and Erik Bergman. Present conductor Dr Kari Turunen (Mus.D.) has directed the choir since 2008, following Henrik Wikström’s eleven-year tenure as conductor.