Founded in 1975, Aalto University’s mixed choir Dominante is an active and ambitious ensemble in the field of Finnish choral music.
Seppo Murto has been Dominante’s artistic director since 1981, allowing the choir’s musical profile to develop under one director from practically the very beginning.
Board of directors
Dominante’s board of directors 2020.
Performing Finnish choral music since 1975
Dominante charms audiences with intensive interpretations, enthusiasm and its luminous sound. The choir’s artistic director is dir.mus. Seppo Murto. The core of Dominante’s activity is composed of performing ambitious a cappella works and orchestral classics, and of yearly overseas concert tours, festivals and competitions.
Founded in 1975, Dominante started as a student choir within the Helsinki University of Technology (today Aalto University). Even at present, most of its 60 members are Aalto University students or alumni.
Modern Finnish music is one of the core components of Dominante’s repertoire. In the past decade alone, Dominante has commissioned and premiered ten new works from eight contemporary composers. Out of classical Finnish composers, Jean Sibelius and Toivo Kuula are particularly well-liked by the choir, and thus their choral works hold a prominent place in Dominante’s repertoire.
Collaborations and international tours
Dominante is frequently invited to perform with well-known Finnish orchestras. In addition to the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the choir has regularly collaborated with Lohjan kaupunginorkesteri and Lahti Symphony Orchestra in the recent years. The choir’s recent performances include J. S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion, St John Passion and the Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem. The choir has also performed modern and rarely heard orchestral works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar as well as Finnish contemporary composer Jussi Chydenius’ De Profundis.
Dominante tours abroad yearly in search of new audiences and musical inspiration. In 2019 Dominante was invited to participate in the Young Artists Bayreuth ‑festival in Germany, and in 2017 the choir performed in both the Leipzig Bach Festival in Germany and the Taipei International Choral Festival in Taiwan. Other recent and memorable concert tours include the Hong Kong Arts Festival (2012), the Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain (2013) and the BBC Proms in London (2007).
Over the years, Dominante has appeared on more than twenty recordings, which range from choral classics to newly commissioned pieces and Christmas music. Dominante’s recordings of Jean Sibelius’ choral works for mixed choir (BIS record label) have been critically acclaimed across Europe, and its records Lempeä (2008) and Raudan kirous (1996) have been chosen as record of the year by The Finnish Choral Conductors’ Association.
A choir that reflects its members’ ambitions
Dominante’s members are young adults with an interest towards ambitious choral singing, and most have a solid foundation in music acquired through youth choirs, solo instruments or orchestras. In addition to its varied choral repertoire, the choir seeks to provide its members with opportunities to further develop their vocal skills by both encouraging singing in a cappella ensembles and by providing individual training led by Dominante’s professional vocal coaches.
Although the choir’s repertoire and activities have become more and more professional over the years, Dominante strives to foster a culture in which joy and genuine enthusiasm are nonetheless never forgotten. In addition to singing and artistic ambition, friendship and camaraderie are particularly cherished among this dynamic and dedicated group of singers.
Artistic director Seppo Murto
Seppo Murto (b. 1955) has been Dominante’s artistic director since 1981. Thus, the choir’s musical profile and repertoire has developed under one director from practically the very beginning. Murto has devotedly steered the choir into becoming one of Finland’s top mixed choirs and allowed the choir to gather a solid reputation abroad through its frequent concert tours.
Murto is also the musical director of the choirs Gloria and Murtosointu. In addition, he has worked with numerous other choirs in Finland and conducted major works of Bach, Haydn, and Mozart with leading Finnish symphony orchestras. Murto has served as chair of the Finnish Choral Conductors’ Association and as KuoroEspoo ‑festival’s (today VocalEspoo) artistic director.
Murto holds degrees in organ music (1980) and in choral conducting (1983) from the Sibelius Academy, the leading institution of music education in Finland. Murto has also taught organ performance at the Sibelius Academy, and he served as the organist of Helsinki Cathedral from 1985 to 2019. His awards and recognitions include director musices (1986) and choral conductor of the year (Finnish Choral Conductors’ Association, 2001), among others.
Managing director Markku Rämö
Art producer and former Dominante member Markku Rämö has served as Dominante’s managing director since 2014. The managing director keeps in touch with the choir’s partners and is in charge of performance arrangements, external communications and marketing.
Board of directors
Chair Juhana Saarinen, dominante-pj (at) dominante.fi