Founded in 1997, the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra (= HEBO) is a new-generation line-up offering its audiences early music in a fresh, distinctive presentation. The orchestra's concerts and recordings, while frequently including first modern performances of unpublished or reconstructed masterpieces, also shed unexpected and often controversial new light on more familiar works.
Aapo Häkkinen started out as Artistic Director of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra in 2003. His authoritative knowledge and personal vision have clearly profiled the orchestra, and it has become one of the most interesting ensembles in Finnish musical life today. In 2009 Riccardo Minasi took the position of Associate Director.
In 2011, the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra launched a monthly Early Music Series at the new Helsinki Music Centre. The orchestra appears around Finland and organizes a regular concert series in Rauma. In 2012 begins a co-operation with the Finnish National Opera.
The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra has appeared at the London Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Cologne Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, and Washington Library of Congress, and is a regular visitor to Bach festivals as Helsinki Bach Week, Köthener Bach Festtage, Bachfest Leipzig, and International Bach Chamber Music Festival, and other major festivals such Musica Bayreuth, as Bolzano Festival, Brežice Festival, Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Helsinki Festival, Israel Festival in Jerusalem, Korsholm Music Festival, Lahti Organ Festival, Festival Arte Sacro in Madrid, Oulu Music Festival, Antonio il Verso Palermo, Peñíscola Festival, Festival de Músicas Contemplativas in Santiago de Compostela, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Festival de Música Antigua de Sevilla, Stockholm Early Music Festival, Turku Music Festival, Zagreb Baroque Festival, Bremen, Bruges, Brühl, Eisenach, Halle, and Varaždin.
Soloists and guest directors have included Rinaldo Alessandrini, Enrico Baiano, Frieder Bernius, Fiorenza De Donatis, Franco Fagioli, Patrick Gallois, Reinhard Goebel, Monica Groop, Pierre Hantaï, Paul Hillier, Erich Höbarth, Ian Honeyman, Jorma Hynninen, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Anna-Kristiina Kaappola, Vesselina Kasarova, Maria Cristina Kiehr, Anu Komsi, Alexis Kossenko, Manfredo Kraemer, Topi Lehtipuu, Julia Lezhneva, Viktoria Mullova, Enrico Onofri, Lilli Paasikivi, Alina Pogostkina, Alexander Rudin, Susanne Rydén, Céline Scheen, Skip Sempé, Dmitry Sinkovsky, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Johannette Zomer.
The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra has recorded for Alba (Monteverdi, 2004), Naxos (Richter symphonies vol. 1, 2007 & vol. 2, 2009; Dussek symphonies, 2012), and AEOLUS (Agrell orchestral works, 2010; Bach harpsichord concertos vol. 1, 2012).
The patron of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra since 2003 has been Dr. Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki.