Soprano Kirsi Tiihonen completed her diploma in singing under Liisa Linko-Malmio at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1993. After winning two national singing competitions she performed as a soloist with orchestras and choirs and gave several recitals in Finland. Her international career started after she won the Rio de Janeiro Singing Competition in 1991 and the international Mirjam Helin Singing Competition in 1994. In 1995 Kirsi Tiihonen represented Finland in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, where she was one of the finalists chosen from 300 participants, and she won the prestigious lied prize.
Kirsi Tiihonen joined the Finnish National Opera 1994-96. In April 1999 she made her debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Frankfurt Opera. In 2000 she returned to the Braunschweig Opera in Germany in the leading role in Aida, and she also sang the role of Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre for the first time. In the same year she participated in Berlin’s German State Opera tour of Japan under the leadership of Daniel Barenboim. During the tour she sang several roles from the Ring. In the autumn of 2002 Kirsi Tiihonen sang in the world premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s King Lear at the Finnish National Opera. In 2001 she made her debut as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi. In the spring of 2003 she debuted in the role of Isolde at the Gothenburg Opera, and in the summer she performed at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, singing the role of Senta in Die Fliegende Holländer for the first time.