Cantores minores

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Cantores Minores
Background information
OriginHelsinki, Finland
GenresClassical music
Years active1952 (1952) - Present

Cantores Minores is a choir of the Helsinki Cathedral, and Finland's oldest and most successful boys' choir. The patron of the choir is the President of Finland. The choir currently consists of about three hundred 4- to 25-year-old boys and young men.


Professor Christian Hauschild directed Cantores Minores from 1987 to 2004.

The choir was founded in 1952 by Tarmo Nuotio and Ruth Ester Hillilä. Since then the choir has also established several smaller groups. The choir's long-term conductors include the Austrian Peter Lacovich who acted as choir's leader in 1954-1958 and 1960–1962, and German Heinz Hofmann who directed the choir in 1962 - 1987.

In 1987-2004 the choir, and since 1990 also the newly established Cantores Minores Musical Institute, were led by the German professor Christian Hauschild. During his time the repertoire of the choir expanded and its reputation abroad grew due to long concert tours around the globe. The choral repertoire is well represented by the performances in 2004, when the major pieces included Bach's St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio (cantatas 1-3), Mozart's Requiem and Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem.

Hannu Norjanen has been the choir's artistic leader since 2005. He already sung in Cantores Minores as a boy. He graduated as conductor from the Sibelius Academy.


The performing choir comprises ca. 140 8-to-25-year-old boys and men. The assembly of the choir is SSAATTBB (1 and 2 soprano, 1 and 2 alto, 1 and 2 tenor, 1 and 2 bass). After mutation of voices, boys proceed from boy voices to male voices. Each voice has its own prefect. The prefect is the position of trust appointed by conductor of the choir. The Prefect is "leader" of his voice and is responsible for keeping order. The choir is actively practicing several times in a week and give concerts both at home and abroad.

The choir operates in connection with training groups named B-, Choral- and Cappellachoir, which are preparing 7- to 12-year-old boys to perform in main chorus (A-Choir). CM-Music Institute also runs musical kindergartens for 4-to-7-year-old boys in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Boys may also choose to have classical singing and piano lessons.


Cantores Minores un Helsinki Cathedral, 2013.

Cantores Minores permanent repertoire includes, inter alia, Johann Sebastian Bach's major works: St Matthew Passion and St John Passion, (which sets out in alternate years), Christmas Oratorio and Mass in B Minor), as well as the composer's motets. Other mentionable major works are for example Requiems of Brahms and Mozart. Choir's a cappella program is a cross-section of the entire history of classical choral music, ranging from Orlando di Lasso in Olli Kortekangas. Finnish choral music repertoire is strongly represented of course. (composers, including Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jukka Linkola, Joonas Kokkonen and Leevi Madetoja). In Christmas times choir sings traditional Christmas carols in dozens of concerts.

Small Groups[edit]

From main choir of Cantores Minores, several small bands have arisen, such as CM Vocal (SATB), CM Swing as well as Christmas CM-Star Boys' Singing (SATB and SA, TB). Some of these groups also have lighter a cappella program ranging all the way to Popular music. CM-boys continue to occur also for private occasions such as weddings and funerals, corporate conferences and other events.

Choir directors[edit]


  • Cantores Minores (LP) (1971)
  • Jouluyö, juhlayö (LP) (1972)
  • Cantores Minores (LP) (1972)
  • Joulukertomus (LP) (1986)
  • Cantores Minores (LP) (1990)
  • In Dulci Jubilo (1993)
  • Kaunis ääni Suomesta (1995)
  • Jauchzet! (1995)
  • Mozart: Coronation Mass (1996, recorded live in 1954)
  • Suomelle (1997)
  • Puer Natus in Betlehem (2000)
  • Joululauluja - Christmas carols (2007)
  • Iiro Rantala: Jouluoratorio (2013)
  • Haloo Helsinki! - "Joulun kanssas jaa" (2017)


By 2014 the choir has made 57 international concert tours around the world.

  • 1957 Sweden
  • 1964 East Germany
  • 1967 East Germany
  • 1968 Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, Netherlands
  • 1969 Norway
  • 1970 West Germany, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland
  • 1972 East Germany, Switzerland, Sweden
  • 1974 Sweden, West Germany, Hungary, Austria
  • 1976 West Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland
  • 1978 East Germany
  • 1980 Poland, West Germany, France, Belgium
  • 1981 West Germany, Switzerland
  • 1982 Italy
  • 1982 United States
  • 1984 Sweden, West Germany
  • 1985 East Germany
  • 1986 West Germany
  • 1988 United States
  • 1989 West Germany, East Germany
  • 1990 Sweden, West Germany
  • 1991 Germany, Estonia
  • 1992 Germany
  • 1993 United States
  • 1994 Belgium, France
  • 1995 Japan
  • 1996 Sweden, Denmark, Germany
  • 1996 Belgium, Germany
  • 1997 Japan
  • 1998 United States
  • 1999 Russia
  • 2000 Germany, Sweden, Japan
  • 2001 Latvia, Hungary
  • 2002 Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland
  • 2003 Russia
  • 2004 Germany, Norway
  • 2005 Sweden, Denmark
  • 2006 Sweden, United States, Canada
  • 2007 Russia
  • 2008 India, Germany
  • 2009 Sweden, Germany
  • 2010 Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany
  • 2010 Germany
  • 2011 Germany, Denmark
  • 2012 Italy, Vatican
  • 2013 Norway
  • 2014 Switzerland, Germany

External links[edit]