Vox Aurea choir, established in 1968, is the representative choir of the basic education in Jyväskylä. Vox Aurea has sustained its high level as one of the top choirs in Finland and its level is also acknowledged internationally. In addition to concert performances and tours, the choir has taken part and awarded prizes in various national and international choir competitions and it has also published several recordings representing the diversity of choir music. The choir consists of 50 singers aged 11 to 18.
The high musical level of Vox Aurea is rooted on the work of extended music curricular classes at schools in Jyväskylä, which is cherished and actively developed in the choir community. Alongside with choir education, Vox Aurea relies on local, national and international cooperation in its activity, as well as opening new channels for Finnish and international choir music. Commissioning choir works from contemporary composers is an established part of the choir’s practices. The latest recording ‘Pato’, which was released in December 2020, is also a collection of compositions commissioned by Vox Aurea in the 2010s.
Co-operation with youth choirs from different countries forms an essential part of the activity of Vox Aurea. Sharing music and experiences this way has widened the repertoire of the choir, increased the understanding on the variety and position of choir music in different cultures, and developed the pedagogical and strategical practices of the choir. Experimental attitude towards a holistic expression, as well as a warm team spirit, are core parts of the choir’s identity.
Photo: Don Fogg
SANNA SALMINEN, CONDUCTOR
Sanna Salminen (PhD, university teacher) started as the conductor of Vox Aurea in 2009. Salminen has worked for the choir already since 1998 as the voice trainer and assistant conductor, collaborating intensively with Pekka Kostiainen, the previous conductor.
Sanna Salminen works as a university teacher at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She graduated from the University of Jyväskylä in 2000 with Music Education as her main subject. During her studies, she specialized in orchestral conducting and multicultural music education. Her doctoral theses dealt with the ways to increase social inclusion through musical hobbies. She has been active in developing research based choral pedagogy that would increase the agency and social inclusion of the choir singers together with high artistic level. Salminen has led and performed in various instrumental and vocal groups, exploring different cultures and expressions of music ranging from medieval times to present. She is active in building international networks with choir conductors and she is a member in e.g. a research group focused on singing with children (SiME), working under the uropean Association for Music in Schools (EAS).
Salminen’s main instruments are the viola, violin and medieval fiddle. In addition to Vox Aurea, she worked as the voice trainer and assistant conductor of Musica chamber choir from 1998 to 2006. She also established Ruamjai choir which she conducted from 2000 to 2009. Apart from choir work, Salminen is also known for making school music books (Soi 3-4 and 5-6 / WSOY), arrangements and compositions. In 2014, Sanna Salminen was awarded a Golden badge by the Finnish Association for Youth Choirs. In 2018, Salminen was awarded the Heinz Hofmann medal by the Association for Youth Choirs and a merit badge by Sulasol, the Finnish Amateur Musicians’ Association.
HIGHLIGHTS IN THE 2010s
2012 Concert tour in South Africa
2013 Venezia in Musica, 3rd prize in folk music category and youth choir category
2015 Golden Gate choir competition, San Francisco, 1st prize in historical and folk music categories (youth choir), 2nd prize in contemporary music category, 3rd prize in gospel & spiritual music category, prize for a noteworthy contemporary piece
2016 Concert tour in Graz, Austria
2016-17 Youth choir of the year for the EBU radio broadcasting company in Finland, Taking part in the EBU Christmas concert day
2017 Songbridge together with Young People´s Chorus of New York City & Indonesian Cordana choir
2018 One of the invited choirs at the international EJCF youth choir festival in Basel, Switzerland
2019 The premiere of Crossings, an interdisciplinary four-movement choral work, together with Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir