Brief History of Vaput

Recent Milestones

Vaput is the oldest women's choir working in Finnish. The choir was officially founded in 1910 but it had actually started already in 1906.

At those times the language of the "cultured people" in Finland was Swedish. There was very little existing choir music in Finnish, especially for women. Vaput did a lot of work to change the situation by commissioning and publishing new choral pieces. Many of those have become classics.

The first director of the choir was Mrs Alli Hannikainen, a teacher of music and the wife of the composer P.J. Hannikainen who composed and arranged a lot of music for Vaput, as did many other composers of that time.

The name "Vaput" refers to the First of May called Vappu in Finnish. The small group of the singing women that gradually grew into a proper choir performed to the public every First of May. It is a tradition that has continued ever since. Since 1955, every First of May (with the exception of 2020) there has been a non-formal coffee concert with home-baked cakes and plenty of singing .


Ms Alli Hannikainen 1910-1917, music teacher and a founder of Vaput

Ms Tyyne Jussila 1917-1924, teacher
Ms Aale Bergius 1924-1928, singer, singing teacher
Mr Torsten Kaukoranta, 1928-1932, journalist
Mr Juhani Pohjanmies, 1933-1935, composer
Mr Enok Kosonen, 1936-1951, conductor
Mr Vilho Kekkonen, 1951-1974, cantor, singer
Ms Maija Fredriksson, 1974-1994, music teacher
Ms Liisa Räsänen, 1994-1998, music teacher
Ms Ulla Kotamäki, 1998-today, music instructor (Maija-Liisa Hyppönen and Eeva Kivi-van Zantvoort as substitutes during the maternity leaves)

The 2020 special birthday concert was supposed to be a versatile and surprising show. Because of the Covid-19 situation the concert has been postponed.

In 2017 Vaput took part in an international choir competition in Spain and got silver points. Vaput also celebrated the 100 years of independent Finland with several projects. One of them was a forest concert in the Pyhä-Häkki National Park. About 600 people took part in the event.

In 2016 the Tuulantei Ensemble published a Christmas CD.

In 2015 Hilkka Heikkilä, the vice conductor of Vaput, was chosen the vice chair of Suomen Naiskuoroliitto, The Finnish Association of Women's Choirs. The conductor of Vaput, Ulla Kotamäki, works in the Music Committee.

Vaput published a CD named "Sydämellä Vaput" in 2012. It contains Finnish choral pieces especially composed for Vaput. The CD can be ordered from the choir, price €10 + postage (VAT 0%), email oraatikainen at

Vaput took part in the international choir competition in Verona, Italy, in 2011. The choir got a silver trophy.

Vaput was awarded the title of Women's Choir of the Year in 2010 by The Finnish Association of Women's Choirs. This was the third time in the history of the choir.

In 2009, Vaput announced a competition of new works for female voices to celebrate the 100 years of singing. The winner songs of the competition were printed into a booklet.

In 2010 Vaput got the Jyväskylä Prize awarded by the Association of Jyväskylä. An exhibition of the history of the choir was held in the Craft Museum of Finland presenting the choir through dresses, decorations, photos, recordings, scrapbooks etc.

For those who understand Finnish, there is a publication Vuosisadan kuoromatka - Vaput 1910-2010, the story of Vaput in 362 pages.

Vaput, Tyyne Jussila, Alli Hannikainen and Juhani Pohjanmies in 1935.

Vaput and Ulla Kotamäki in 2015