Etelä-Karjalan Klassinen kuoro (translates to the South Karelia Classical Choir) is a choir that mainly focuses on performing large compositions for choir and orchestra. Such are for instance different Masses and Oratorios. On occasion, the choir also does 'a cappella' works and sometimes also ventures from church music to folk music based and contemporary music.

The roots of the choir run to the early 1980's and since the year 1990 the choir has been sternly but gently guided by its artistic director and conductor professor Toomas Kapten, who is the head of the conducting department in the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Under Kapten's lead the choir has gained the appreciation of its audience and a reputation as a high-standard amateur choir capable of very challenging choral works.

Among the works performed by Etelä-Karjalan Klassinen kuoro are for example the Requiem from Mozart as well as Duruflé, Rutter and Fauré and the Christmas Oratorio from J.S. Bach. Works of an Estonian composer Veljo Tormis have also been performed over the years. A more thorough list has been presented in finnish under the link "Konsertit". The names of the composers and works are luckily understandable to English speakers. 

The choir is a mixed choir with the number of active members being around 40. In the event that a particularly large choir is needed for the composition to be at its best, and 'the reserves have been called for duty', the choir can reach 60 persons.

If you consider joining our singing ranks, you are more than welcome. Understanding and speaking Finnish is an advantage but not totally necessary. Most choir members speak English and some Russian.

Because of our rather hectic rehearsing schedule, knowing how to read music is mandatory. One does not need to be a master at it, just to know generally one's way around a music sheet. There is an audition before joining. It is not a terrible experience, we have all done it. You can come to our practice on Tuesdays in the Lappee church hall at Kirkkokatu 10 at 6 o'clock in the evening, but it is easier for you if you contact our chairman as then you are expected and someone is there to welcome you for sure; just in case there is a last-minute change of location.

If you just want to listen to us, you are more than welcome to attend our concerts. The concert times are presented in "Konsertit". There is usually one around Christmas time (might be a bit earlier) and one in spring around Easter or Mother's Day.

Cheers, and hope to see you soon!


Artistic director, conducter Toomas Kapten

Toomas Kapten is a leading Estonian conductor and professor of conducting in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. He got his musical education from Tallinn Music Highschool (conducting and composing). After that he studied at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (orchestral and choral conducting by prof. Roman Matsov and Kuno Aren) and at the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory (opera and orchestral conducting by prof. Alexander Dmitrijev, choral conducting by prof. Jelizaveta Kudrjavtseva).

Through 1983-1987 he was a principal conductor of Vanemuine Theater (Tartu, Estonia) and received Estonian Theatre award in the category of Best Opera Production.

In the years 1987-1995 Kapten was a principal conductor of Estonian Radio Choir. At the year 1987 Kapten founded the Symphony Orchestra of Tallinn Music Highschool and Sinfonietta Orchestra called Tallinn Youth Philharmonics which won twice the European Youth Orchestras Competition at Neerpelt, Belgium. With that orchestra he has performed more than 100 new works of Estonian composers: Tüür, Pärt, Rääts, Tormis, Sisask, Kangro, Sumera etc.

1987-1994 Kapten was a teacher of conducting and principal conductor of the Opera Studio of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT). Since 1988 he has held masterclasses in various music academies: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Strasbourg, Bremen, Prague, Hannover. At 1993 Toomas Kapten received Estonian Musician of the Year award.

Since 1991 Kapten has been an artistic director of oratorio music projects in South Karelia and artistic director and principal conductor of South Karelian Classical Choir.

In the years 1994-2004 Kapten was an associate professor, since 2004 a professor, and Head of the Conducting Department of EAMT.

Since 1996 he has been a principal guest conductor of Bergslagens Kammarsymfoniker and Orkestern Filialen Stockholm. Among others he has conducted Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Opera, Chinese National Symphony Orchestra, Pilsen Radio Philharmonics and several other orchestras and vocal groups.

During his professional career Toomas Kapten has recorded 136 hours of music for Estonian Radio and 22 CD´s of symphonic music. Toomas Kapten has been a regular jury member of various international choir and conducting competitions in Porto, Helsinki, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.