Aulikki Haahti-Turunen

Aulikki Haahti-Turunen

Even in simple singalongs, I still find myself searching for ostinato patterns.

Instrument group

Like many other musicians in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Aulikki Haahti-Turunen was born in Oulu and attended the music class at the prestigious Teuvo Pakkala Primary School. Music was always present in her family: her mother was a professional musician and her father, a mathematician, was an enthusiastic music lover.

From Oulu they moved south, and Aulikki continued their violin lessons at the Espoo Music Institute. The idea of becoming a professional musician began to form when playing with the Espoo Chamber Orchestra. At the age of 18, she attended a summer camp and made a change that finally sealed her career choice: she switched from violin to a bigger, lower instrument that better suited her character and musicianship. “It immediately felt right,” Aulikki remembers. “It felt like I had found both a suitable instrument and repertoire at the same time.”

Aulikki Haahti-Turunen joined the HPO in 1989 as a second-generation member of the orchestra, and for the first nine years of her tenure she played in the orchestra at the same time as her harpist mother, Marjatta Haahti. Several work exchanges with the Finnish National Opera have contributed to her professional satisfaction; she originally caught the opera bug as a child, following in the footsteps of her brother Pekka.

Today, Aulikki Haahti-Turunen is one of the most experienced musicians in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. She describes herself as an orchestra fox and worker ant who fully surrenders herself to interpreting the delightful tones of the viola. “Even in simple singalongs, I still find myself searching for ostinato patterns.”

Over the years, Aulikki has gained a rare perspective on her own orchestra. “I have seen firsthand how the orchestra has developed over these 35 years. The playing now is freer, and individual expression is valued. The music really breathes, and our musicians have the confidence to realise their passion.” 

Aulikki Haahti-Turunen now plays a custom-made viola made for her in 2023 by violin maker Simo Turunen.

Text: Jaani Länsiö