The department educates conductors for choirs, orchestras and wind instrument orchestras, and other music professionals for Finnish and international employment needs. The department also coordinates Sibelius Academy’s orchestra and chamber music education, bringing together students of music conducting and different instruments.


As a conducting student you can major in either choral, orchestral or wind orchestral conducting. You will closely collaborate with teachers, fellow department students and different student and professional groups.


The practice orchestras and choirs involved in the programme are made up of students from other departments while they are completing their instrument studies. Orchestra and wind instrument orchestra conductor students will rehearse by conducting a practice orchestra. Choir conductors will rehearse by conducting a vocal ensemble.


Most students are highly skilled with musical instruments, having gained extensive experience in their working lives or having earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Conducting studies add to the knowledge and skills of these professionals.


After graduation, you will possess extensive musical knowledge and professionalism that will provide the opportunity to work with several demanding musical assignments; but first and foremost, as a choir, orchestra or wind instrument orchestra conductor. The Master of Music degree also makes you eligible for doctoral study. Doctoral degrees available at Sibelius Academy include Licentiate of Music (LMus) and Doctor of Music (DMus).

KapuTv takes you behind the scenes

KapuTv is the youtube playlist for conducting studies at the Sibelius Academy.


Meet the visiting teachers and take a sneak peek in the rehearsals!

Johtamisaineet: KapuTv

Chamber music

Chamber music

At Sibelius Academy, 100 to 110 chamber music groups work together each year. The groups are comprised of students from different Sibelius Academy departments. The operative coordinator is the orchestra, chamber music and conductor education department.


As a chamber music student, you will have the opportunity to participate in monthly matinees at Helsinki Music Centre’s Camerata Hall and other Sibelius Academy premises in addition to weekly teaching. You will also have the chance to participate in the chamber music weekend at course centre Kallio-Kuninkala in Järvenpää scheduled for four times a year. The academic year culminates in the chamber music week that will include several student concerts.



Learning and performing repertoire under the lead of a chamber pianist, the accompanist is an essential part of all instrument studies. The orchestra, chamber music and conductor education department coordinates Sibelius Academy’s accompaniment services. There are 6 permanent chamber pianists and 15 part-time chamber pianists at Sibelius Academy. With them, you will study the structures and harmonies of the compositions’ music scores and receive support for matinees and performance examination concerts.


Part-time teacher
Part-time teacher
Part-time teacher
Visiting professor
Stage Manager
Part-time teacher
Part-time teacher
Part-time teacher

Orchestras and ensembles


Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra

Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra

The Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra offers orchestral instrument students the opportunity to polish their skills as a member of a full-scale orchestra. The orchestra is conducted by professional conductors and, once a year, by a conducting student. The orchestra is regularly conducted by the professor of the orchestra and conductor programme as well.

The Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1916. In the past, the orchestra has been conducted by Jussi Jalas, Jorma Panula, Arvid Jansons, Paavo Berglund, Sir Colin Davis, Eri Klas, Leif Segerstam, Atso Almila, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Okko Kamu, John Storgårds, Osmo Vänskä, Sakari Oramo, Mikko Franck and others.

It has performed in Finland and in numerous European capitals, in Russia, Beijing (China), and Tokyo (Japan), as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City and Disney Hall in Los Angeles. It is a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO), which is comprised of the most respected symphony orchestras training professional-level students in the EU.

The Sibelius Academy Wind Ensemble "Academy Winds"

The Sibelius Academy Wind Ensemble "Academy Winds"

Over the years the Sibelius Academy has developed a strong tradition for ensemble- and orchestral playing which is reflected in the high number of internationally successful conductors who have graduated from the Sibelius Academy (e.g. Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Osmo Vänskä, Susanna Mälkki and Sakari Oramo, all students of renowned conducting professor Jorma Panula).

Since the Sibelius Academy in 2001, in close affiliation with the Finnish Military Music Division, launched the wind band conducting program the Finnish wind band world has flourished and is today one of Europe’s most thriving wind music scenes with an unprecedented number of composers who write directly for the wind medium.


The Sibelius Academy Wind Ensemble found its present form in 2012 when Peter Ettrup Larsen as newly appointed leader of the wind band conducting program formally initiated the ensemble. Just like the world famous Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra (est. 1916), the Sibelius Academy Wind Ensemble does not meet on a weekly basis. The players are pulled from the student body and assembled for 4-6 days of rehearsals prior to performing a concert, just like any professional orchestra or ensemble.


The appearance at the Midwest Clinic 2014 is the ensemble’s first international endeavor.

NYKY Ensemble

NYKY Ensemble

NYKY Ensemble


NYKY Ensemble, founded in 2009 at Sibelius Academy, part of the University of the Arts Helsinki, is a contemporary music group led by Professor Tuija Hakkila. The group performs regularly and acts as a forum for contemporary music projects and a window for students into contemporary music trends. The group’s composition changes along with the pieces they perform. NYKY Ensemble has been led by Heikki Nikula, Heini Kärkkäinen, Jouko Laivuori, Anssi Karttunen, Mikael Helasvuo, Jukka Savijoki, Eija Kankaanranta, Jean-Baptiste Barrière, Anu Komsi, Ilmo Ranta, Max Savikangas, Tim Ferchen, Minna Pensola, Anssi Karttunen and others.

NYKY Ensemble has partnered with the following organisations, among others:

  • Musica Nova (2013, 2015)
  • Liisa Pentti + Co (Spaceparticles #10 in 2013; The Sinking of the Titanic in 2015)
  • North Karelia Municipal Education and Training Consortium's Dance Programme (Kaija Saariaho “Maa”, 2013)
  • AAVE Festival (Fausto Romitelli: “An Index of Metals”, 2014)
  • Jean-Baptiste Barrière and Image Auditive (“Näe! Kuule! Sähköisty!” in 2012, Kaija Saariaho: “Maa” in 2013)

Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble

Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble

The Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble "Vocis", consisting of 16 singers, serves as the rehearsal and degree concert instrument for the choral conducting class. In addition to public master’s degree concerts, the Vocal Ensemble occasionally holds concerts outside the Academy.

How to apply

The application procedures differ slightly depending on whether you are applying for the orchestra, wind orchestra or choral conducting major. Applicants to the orchestral or wind orchestra conducting major are required to have versatile soloist skills and theoretical knowledge, as well as experience in ensemble playing. Applicants to the choral conducting major are required to have versatile soloist skills and theoretical knowledge, as well as experience in ensemble singing.

Contact information

All University of the Arts Helsinki e-mail addresses are in the form firstname.lastname (at)

Head of Department Matti Perttula

Professor, choir conducting Nils Scweckendiek

Professor, conductor and orchestra education Atso Almila

Professor, chamber music Marko Ylönen (substitute for academic year 2016–2017 Asko Heiskanen)

Wind instrument conductor class lecturer Petri Komulainen

Accompaniment lecturer-in-charge Timo Koskinen

Symphony orchestra manager Anna Rombach

Conductor programme manager Arturo Alvarado

Orchestra coordinator Susanna Laine

Stage manager David Claudio

Stage manager Jani Roppola