Long Live Old Music: XI Aurore – Helsinki Renaissance Music Festival

Aurore celebrates 10 full years of renaissance music! We are thrilled to welcome our audience once again to the church of St. Paul from 8th to 11th February 2024.  

All our concerts take place in the architecturally and acoustically magnificent church of St. Paul in Vallila, Helsinki. 45 minutes before each concert we invite the audience to meet the artists, hear a short presentation of the evenings repertoire and instruments, and enjoy a warming cup of coffee or tea.

Founded in 2014, Aurore is the only music festival in Finland specifically focused on renaissance music. We strive to bring forward the wonderful and vivid, yet rarely heard repertoire from ca. 1450–1600, performed by the leading renaissance specialists in music. The festival aims to give the audience a comprehensive view to the captivating world of the renaissance era via an exceptionally detailed program leaflet and the laid back Meet&Greet – events with the artists before each concert. The highly skilled artists performing in Aurore are specialised in early music and the performance practises and instruments of the renaissance era.

Aurores artistic planning is led by an artistic committee, which includes Mats Lillhannus, Mikko Ikäheimo, George Parris, David Hackston and Sini Vahervuo.

Renaissance music is beautiful, empowering and meditative. The feeling of shared humanity in the music flows through us when listening to it, and makes us forget how old the music truly is. Renaissance music still has a voice today, and it continues to touch the people of the 21st century equally as much as the audiences of its own time.”

-Kari Turunen, founding member and the first artistic director of Aurore


Thu 8th Feb at 7 pm • Oh Sister, haste with me to the sea! – women’s voice in Medieval love songs

The concert takes its audience to the colourful and emotionally charged world of love poetry of the Middle Ages. The programme includes poems exploring women’s perspectives, their inner worlds, as well as medieval songs praising the Virgin Mary. In medieval texts and early motets, the heavenly and the worldly forms of love were not so far removed, and even the Virgin Mary could be described in surprisingly carnal terms. Early polyphonic music is often built on several overlapping texts, one being very chaste, the other sensual, even erotic in tone and the third somewhere in between.

The music in this programme comes from various collections, the most important being the Cantigas d’Amigo (Songs of a Friend), a collection of medieval love songs and lyrical troubadour poetry from the Galician and Portuguese regions of the Iberian Peninsula. In addition to its rich poetry, this collection is exceptional in that the narrator or speaker is almost always a woman, a young girl, a wife, mother or bride. It is the largest surviving collection of love poems written in a woman’s voice from the Middle Ages. The programme also includes polyphonic music from the 14th century, music from the Montpellier Codex and compositions by Adam de la Halle.

Amor Céu is an ensemble specialising in medieval music, whose members are virtuoso singers and multi-instrumentalists. The name of the ensemble, literally translated as ”love sky”, refers to a beloved, friend or partner, a distant love (Amor seu) or ‘heavenly love’ in Portuguese.

6.15 pm – Meet the artist and free coffee at St. Pauls parish hall

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church


  • Eira Karlson, vocals & fiddle
  • Anna-Maaria Oramo, vocals & clavicimbalum
  • Aino Peltomaa, vocals , harp & percussions


  • Montpellier Codex
  • Cantigas de Santa Maria


  • Adam de la Halle
  • Martin Codax

Fri 9th Feb at 7 pm • Per Brahes lute book – popular songs from 17th century courts

Pietari Brahe (1602–1680) was a Swedish statesman and count, whose two terms as Governor General of Finland marked an exceptionally active period of development in our country: Sweden-Finland’s third university Turku Academy, several schools and ten cities were founded during his reign. Brahe was a friend of the arts, and also a keen musician. Among other subjects, he studied the lute at the University of Giessen in Germany. Music always played an important role in any events he organised, and he even had his own orchestra in his home castle in Visingborg, Sweden.

The concert programme, designed by lutenist Mikko Ikäheimo, consists of music from the collection of lute tablature written down by Brahe himself. The music was collated during his studies at the university of Giessen, and the book contains many popular lute compositions of the day, spiritual and secular songs, and dances that the young aristocrat would undoubtedly have danced himself in the courts. We will hear this music in a variety of different instrumentations: by an instrument ensemble, sung by soprano Johanna Isokoski, and as lute solos, i.e. in the form in which Brahe originally wrote them down.

6.15 pm – Meet the artist and free coffee at St. Pauls parish hall

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church


Ensemble Nylandia

  • Johanna Isokoski, vocals
  • Sini Vahervuo, flutes
  • Tatu Ahola, baroque cello
  • Matias Häkkinen, harpsichord
  • Mikko Ikäheimo, lute


  • John Dowland 
  • Jacob van Eyck 
  • Tobias Hume

Sat 10th Feb at 7 pm • Musica Rigensis – Guest concert by Ars Antiqua Riga (Latvia)

In the concert programme Musica Rigensis, you will hear Gregorian chants from the 14th century collection Missale Rigensie, which were performed at the Riga Cathedral. Missale Rigensie reveals medieval Riga as a significant centre of European culture where the most current Western European music of the time was performed.

In contrast to the monophonic chants within the programme, there are polyphonic works composed two centuries later – mass, passion, and motets. In the second half of the 16th century, Riga was a strictly Lutheran town that actively fought back against the Counter-Reformation movement. During this time, the teacher and cantor of the Riga Cathedral Paulus Bucenus Philarodus (1548–1586) was active. Only a small portion of the composer’s musical legacy has survived to the present day, and we can only read about the extensive volumes of his work in the archives. The works included in this concert programme – a mass, motets, a passion, Gregorian chants – bring us closer to the medieval musical landscape of Riga, ranging from simple monody to splendid polyphony.

6.15 pm – Meet the artist and free coffee at St. Pauls parish hall

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church


Ars Antiqua Riga

Conducted by Pēteris Vaickovskis

Sun 11th Feb at 6 pm • Mariavesper – Monterverdi’s Crown Jewel

The Vespro della Beata Vergine, also known as Mariavesper, of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) stands as one of the great masterpieces of the Renaissance. Published in Venice in 1610, there is great controversy over whether it was indeed intended as a single piece of music or in fact a collection of the composer’s finest sacred music. When it is performed as a whole, with its full complement of voices, strings, cornetti, tromboni, and continuo, it is a stunning ritual full of drama, sublimity, intimacy and beauty – music that will truly stir the soul. 

Famous for his colourful, impassioned madrigals, Monteverdi adds the most modern musical language to the plain chants that had carried the texts of these Marian Psalms for centuries before him. At times there is ravishing simplicity for the sole purpose of hearing the text, yet the piece also contains sacred concertos such as the lively Sonata sopra Sancta Maria. The music will soar in the generous acoustic of Paavalinkirkko and will bring the light of Venetian splendour to Helsinki in the darkest winter.

British singer and choir conductor George Parris directs a stellar team of musicians from vocal ensemble I Dodici, Ensemble Nylandia renaissance ensemble and Schola Buccina Basiliensis renaissance brass consort in a complete performance of this sublime work, celebrating Monteverdi’s genius and the 10 full years of Aurore.

Please note the time of the concert, which is different than other Aurore concerts! Duration ca. 2 hrs with a small intermission.

5.15 pm – Meet the artist and free coffee at St. Pauls parish hall

6.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church


Conductor George Parris

I Dodici

  • Linnéa Sundfær Casserly, soprano
  • Elisa Huovinen,  soprano
  • Veera Kuusirati, soprano
  • Sirkku Rintamäki, alto
  • David Hackston, alto
  • Mats Lillhannus, tenor
  • Niilo Erkkilä, tenor
  • Jussi Lehtipuu, bass
  • Riku Laurikka, bass

Ensemble Nylandia

  • Meelis Orgse, violin
  • Kinga Ujszászi,violin
  • Mari Viluksela, viola
  • Kaisa Ruotsalainen, viola
  • Tatu Ahola, cello
  • Mikko Ikäheimo, theorbo
  • Olli Hyyrynen, theorbo
  • Matias Häkkinen, organ

Schola Buccina Basiliensis

  • Benedetta Ceron, cornett
  • Clément Gester, cornett
  • Bethany Chidgey, cornett
  • Emily Saville, trombone
  • Sabine Gassner, trombone
  • BJ Hernandez, trombone

St. Paul’s Church


St. Paul’s Church (Paavalinkirkko), Sammatintie 5, Helsinki, is easily accessible by trams number 6 and 8 as well as a number of busses. See Reittiopas for connections.


Tickets are available in Aurore’s online box office and an hour in advance at the door (payment by card preferred).

  • single concert: Thu–Sat €25/20 • Sun €30/25
  • festival pass €65/55

You can also purchase tickets at Lippupiste, where the price will include an additional service fee.

Renessanssimusiikkia Paavalinkirkossa ry.
VAT ID FI25853317
Co. Mats Lillhannus
Pääskyvuorenkatu 41 • 20540 Turku • Finland
The festival’s General Manager is Sanni Antikainen