Dr. Riikka Pietiläinen Caffrey

Dr. Riikka Pietiläinen Caffrey is currently in her first year as Director of the University Chorale of Boston College. A native Finn, she has been frequently invited as a clinician for choral ensembles in Europe and within the United States. Her research focuses on equity and inclusivity in music education, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and challenging the patriarchal narratives in music. Her recent collaborative projects have featured poets Proshot Kalami and Rhina Espaillat, Finnish dancer and choreographer Laura Pietiläinen, composer Kristin Vining, harpist Felice Pomeranz, and pop artist Rie Daisies among others.

Riikka has previously held academic positions at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Riikka is an active member of the Advocacy and Collaboration Committee of the American Choral Directors Association, and the chair of the Advocacy Committee for the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Riikka’s compositions have been published by Alliance Music Publications and Kandinsky Music. Riikka holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Performance from the City College of City University of New York as well as Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado.

Past Directors

John Finney


John Finney served as Director of the University Chorale of Boston College for 30 years, and was the conductor of the Boston College Symphony Orchestra from 1999-2023.  Under his direction, the University Chorale performed throughout the Boston area, New York City, Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Rome, and more.

In March 2013 he conducted both the University Chorale and the Boston College Symphony Orchestra in Boston’s Symphony Hall, as part of the celebratory concert in observance of the 150th anniversary of Boston College. In November 2013 he conducted the Chorale in the world premiere performances of God’s Grandeur, composed by Boston College Professor Thomas Oboe Lee, in honor of the sesquicentennial year of Boston College.

John Finney has been recognized as one of the most important musicians in the Boston area. He has served as Director of Music at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church for 38 years, and has conducted at the acclaimed Bach Festival in Blue Hill, Maine since 2013.  He was Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster of Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society for 24 years, and also served as Conductor of the Heritage Chorale in Framingham, a position he had held since 1987. He has served on the organ faculty of The Boston Conservatory, and also taught at the Academy for Early Music in Bressanone, Italy.

Holding degrees in organ performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and The Boston Conservatory, he concertized extensively throughout the United States and Europe as organist and harpsichordist.  He was a member of the organ faculty of The Boston Conservatory, and taught for six years at the Academy for Early Music in Bressanone, Italy.  In August 1999, when he was appointed the conductor of the Boston College Symphony Orchestra, John Finney was given the title of Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Boston College, until his retirement in 2023.