The Academic Choral Society (= AL) is the mixed voice choir of the Helsinki University Student's Union, established in 1953. At present, the normal performing strength is around 40 singers. The choir performs major orchestral and a cappella works by both Finnish and foreign composers.
In recent years, the repertoire has included J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232), L.v. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, George Frideric Handel's Messiah, Gustav Mahler's 8th Symphony, Requiems by Verdi, Mozart, Dvorák, Fauré, Kokkonen, Duruflé and Lloyd-Webber, Bruckner's Mass No. 3, Orff's Carmina Burana, Sergei Rachmaninov's All-night Vigil, Rautavaara's Katedralen (Cathedral), Francis Poulenc's Messe en Sol Majeur and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé.
The Academic Choral Society has helped develop Finnish musical life by commisioning new works from Finnish composers. The choir commisioned Joonas Kokkonen's Requiem, Einar Englund's Symphony no. 6 Aforisms and Atso Almila's Ja hänen nimensä oli Kuulemiin... (And his name was Kuulemiin...). For its 50th anniversary (2003) AL commisioned works for choir and chamber orchestra from Arttu Takalo and Seppo Pohjola. Other premiéres include Einojuhani Rautavaara's Meren tytär, Erkki Salmenhaara's 5th Symphony Isle of Bliss, Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time and Mikko Heiniö's Mannerkantaatti (Continent Cantata).
While the choir generally performs in the Helsinki area, AL has also toured Finland, made recordings and participated in opera productions of Carmen, Jeanne d'Arc, Aïda, Tannhäuser and Ameriikka.