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

Aurore returns to its familiar place in the heart of winter to celebrate its 10th anniversary! We are thrilled to welcome our audience once again to the church of St. Paul from 26th to 29th January 2023. 

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.

Aurores artistic planning is led by an artistic committee, which this year includes Mats Lillhannus, David Hackston and George Parris.

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 26th Jan at 7 pm • Mischievous visionaries
– Nicolà Vicentino and the ancient modern harmonies

In 1551, composers and theoreticians Nicolà Vicentino and Vicente Lusitano were having a heated argument about ”modern” music. Vicentino divided the octave into as many as 31 notes, and his madrigals heard in this concert are probably the earliest microtonal compositions in western music since ancient Greece. The composer himself characterized these as ”cosa nuova et molto difficile” – something new and very challenging. The program also includes keyboard and vocal music by contemporaries of Lusitano and Vicentino, who were also exploring the possibilities and limits of diatonic and chromatic music.

This concert,  designed by singer David Hackston, will include a vocal ensemble, St. Paul’s Church’s renaissance organ and a special harpsichord where the octave has been divided into 14 keys instead of the traditional 12 keys, which enables the use of microtonality also in keyboard music. Before the concert from 6.30 pm. a sound installation by the Canadian composer Paolo Griffin will be heard in the church. The installation is based on Vicentino’s musical language and leads the listener into the harmonious world of the upcoming concert.

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

6.30 pm – Sound installation by Griffin at St. Pauls church

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church


  • Linnéa Sundfær-Casserly, soprano
  • Iris Oja, mezzosoprano
  • David Hackston, alto
  • Martti Anttila, tenor
  • Riku Laurikka, bass
  • Matias Häkkinen, harpsichord
  • Ilpo Laspas, organ
  • Joel Ward, live electronics


  • Nicolà Vicentino
  • Vicente Lusitano
  • Carlo Gesualdo
  • Luca Marenzio
  • Michelangelo Rossi

Fri 27th Jan at 7 pm • La dolce vista
– Guest concert by Le Miroir de Musique (Switzerland)

Guillaume Du Fay is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians of the 15th century, having enjoyed immense success during his lifetime. He was also one of the first oltremontani, these musicians from Flanders and the north of France who were employed in the chapels of Italian courts to enhance the cultural influence of the cities. These composers had an immense influence on the musical world of the Renaissance.

This programme is an opportunity to celebrate the first generation of these Franco-Flemish composers from Nicolas Grenon (c1375-1456) to Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1474), via Gautier Liebert, the De Lantins brothers and Johannes de Lymburgia.

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

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church

Le Miroir de Musique:

  • Sabine Lutzenberger, mezzosoprano
  • Tessa Roos, mezzosoprano
  • Jacob Lawrence, tenor
  • Elizabeth Rumsey, vielle
  • Marc Lewon, lute, gittern
  • Baptiste Romain, vielle, bagpipes & direction


  • Hugo de Lantins
  • Guillaume Du Fay
  • Johannes de Lymburgia
  • Nicolas Grenon
  • Arnold de Lantins

Sat 28th Jan at 7 pm • Music lessons from the Cathedral School
– The rich music life of Åbo in the 16th century

What music was sung and played in 16th century Finland? One might think that the  remote Finland would’ve been relatively clueless of the high culture of the Renaissance and the musical life o fcentral Europe, but from the notebooks of the Turku Cathedral School we can conclude that this was not the case at all! The Cathedral School offered the highest education in Finland and maintained very close contact with the rest of Europe and its universities. The school’s students and teachers had access to an abundance of music from the most essential composers of the time, such as Orlando di Lasso, Giaches de Wert and even Josquin himself. So an astonishing amount of Renaissance music was played in the school halls.

The vocal ensemble Ex Arte Lux accompanied by period instruments lead the listeners on a hypothetical journey into the musical life of the cathedral school and the cathedral standing next to it during the late Renaissance.

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

7.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church

Ex Arte Lux:

  • Anneliina Rif, soprano
  • Maikki Säikkä, soprano
  • Kristina Raudanen, alto
  • Mats Lillhannus, tenor
  • Teemu Mustonen, tenor
  • Pekka Alonen, bass


  • Gallus Dressler
  • Josquin Desprez
  • Orlando di Lasso
  • Jacob Meiland
  • Michael Praetorius
  • Johann Walter
  • Giaches de Wert

Sun 29th Jan at 6 pm • Gentleman of the Chapel Royal – 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd

I Dodici marks the 400th anniversary of William Byrd’s death with a programme of his exquisite yet rarely performed consort music. Byrd’s life coincides with the ascendency of “consort music”, a term relating to the performing of fantasias, anthems, songs, and dances in a private setting for the amusement of a select handful of listeners or simply the players themselves. The chief instrument of this was the viola da gamba, or ‘viol’, favoured for its capability to imitate the sound, colour and contour of the human voice. In these pieces, the viols and voices are in effect wedded to each other, continuously complementing and being interchangeable with each other.

I Dodici’s viol consort has been specially created for this concert by Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, a founding member of the award-winning group Phantasm and one of Europe’s leading gamba players. I Dodici’s singers are well known to Aurore’s audiences for their superb performances and captivating interpretations of early-modern vocal music. The project is led by british George Parris, whose long experience of performing Byrd’s music goes all the way back to his childhood.

Please note the time of the concert, which is different than other Aurore concerts!

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

6.00 pm – Concert begins at St. Pauls church

I Dodici:

  • Singers – Linnéa Sundfær Casserly, Sirkku Rintamäki, David Hackston, Mats Lillhannus, Niilo Erkkilä, George Parris (music director), Sampo Haapaniemi
  • Treble viol – Markku Luolajan-Mikkola
  • Tenor viol – Maija Lampela, Kristiina Hirvonen
  • Bass viol – Heidi Peltoniemi, Johanna Randvere

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 €25/20
  • festival pass €60/50

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