Made up of young music students and professional singers, the EMO Ensemble Chamber Choir was founded in 2000 in association with the Espoo Music Institute. After only three years, the choir won the international Harald Andersén Chamber Choir Competition, aimed primarily at professional choirs, and, at the same competition, EMO’s performance of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund was awarded the prize for best performance of a work of contemporary music.
Since this competition win, the EMO Ensemble has profiled itself as eminent performers of contemporary music, offering living composers an invaluable instrument with which to experiment. Recent work by the most prominent Finnish composers of the 21st century can be heard on EMO’s first CD recording, Maasta (Of the Earth), released on Alba Records in autumn 2005. The Finnish Association of Choral Conductors named Maasta best choral CD of the year, while critics with the newspapers Helsingin Sanomat and Hufvudstadsbladet called it one of the most accomplished recordings of the year. The choir’s latest recordings, Hereillä – Awake, was released in 2008 and Taivaaseen - To the Sky, was released in 2010.
Key to the EMO Ensemble’s philosophy is its commitment to remaining an experimental, multifaceted and flexible group of performers. In summer 2002, the choir performed a programme of music on the theme of water at the Tapiola swimming baths, while at the KuoroEspoo Festival in 2004 it incorporated lighting and moving images into the sound world of the concert. In autumn 2006, EMO was once again invited to the Polyfollia Festival in Normandy, France, where the choir received standing ovations for its programme of challenging contemporary music. In 2007, EMO was nominated for the music prize of the Nordic Council of Ministers. In July 2008, the choir represented Finland at the World Symposium of Choral Music in Copenhagen, Denmark.