Kostiainen graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 1968. He continued his composing studies with Professor Jouko Tolonen and completed his composing diploma in 1973. He completed postgraduate studies with Einar Englund, Joonas Kokkonen and Einojuhani Rautavaara.
He served as a cantor at the Pohja Finnish Parish from 1969 to 1971, and as a lecturer at the University of Jyväskylä from 1971 to 2000. Since 2000 he has worked as a composer and choral conductor.
He is widely known abroad, especially as a choral music composer. Kostiainen leads the Musica Choir in Jyväskylä, which he founded in 1977, and from 1994 to 2008 he has been director of the Vox Aurea choir of Jyväskylä. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Jyväskylä. Kostiainen was elected Chief Choir of the Year in 2005. Alba Records has released eight CDs with Kostiainen conducting his own works with his own choirs.
- Pekka Kostiainen at the Arts Council of Central Finland website
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