Kari Ala-Pöllänen was the Tapiola Choir's conductor and artistic director 1994-2008. During this period  the choir successfully toured around the world, in most continents.  The Tapiola Choir was  under his direction, as first music group, awarded The UNESCO Price 1996 for the Promotion of the Performing Arts. He has been awarded with several high Finnish official decorations, a.o. in 2009, when the President of the Republic of Finland rewarded him with the Pro Finlandia Medal by Order of the Lion of Finland, the highest recognition for arts.

Kari Ala-Pöllänen is a versatile musician and conductor having wide experience in various sections of music and playing several instruments himself. He first graduated as a school teacher and then studied a.o. musicology and orchestral and choral conducting.

In Finland he has acted as a music teacher, symphony orchestra-, folk- and jazz musician and conductor, as chorister and ensemble singer and superintendent of music as well as a writer of school music text books and encyclopedia. He is the artistic director of international choral festivals, works as a jury member of choir competitions and as a guest conductor and lecturer in numerous festivals in Finland and abroad. He has been a member of Europa Cantat Music Commission and is currently the chair of IFCM Songbridge Artistic Committee.

  It is about questioning some habits and traditions in choir conducting and introducing new ways of thinking about the role of a conductor, particularly in children's choirs. It is, as well, focusing on the educational task of the children's choir activity, referring to the doctoral thesis of Mr. Tuomas Erkkilä (Pedagogy in the Tapiola Choir and Mr. Kari Ala-Pöllänen as a co-operative children's choir conductor, University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Acta Univ.Oul.E134,2013).

 

Questions and matters to be discussed:
What is the choir conductor needed for?
What is needed to become a choir conductor?
Are these pairs of concepts opposites or possible to combine in children's choir:
    - conduct (lead, direct...) - co-operation
    - artistic 
ambition / professionalism - educative ambition
    - calculated creation – reducing the stress factor

What is co-operative conducting?
Principles of co-operation

Focusing on basics: Conducting habits   
Main questions:  Why am I doing like I do? What is important/needed to do.

KARI ALA-PÖLLÄNEN, Finland

Co-Operative Children's Choir Conductor: Choir Performing With or Without a Conductor   

Bio en CAT

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