Ensemble Linnamuusikud has operated in Tallinn Old Town since 1983 under Taivo Niitvägi’s guidance and management. The ensemble is the first musical group in Estonia that brought Estonian folk hymns to the professional big stage.
The spiritual music in Eastern Europe was reborn in 1980’s thanks to the collaboration of the Ensemble Linnamuusikud and the cello virtuoso Ivan Monighetti, who created the first early music festival in Moscow, „Dni starinnoj muzyki“. One of the greatest countertenor at the time, Marcin Bornus-Szczyciński, also started an early music festival "Pieśń Naszych Korzeni" in a small Polish town Stary Sącz, collaborating with Ensemble Linnamuusikud. These partnerships opened up new contacts and perspectives to the ensemble and started further collaboration with Dominique Vellard and Marcel Pérès from France, and Ensemble Sirin from Russia. By working with wider European influences, Ensemble Linnamuusikud learned a great deal and has continued performing with many collaborators since then, including performances of Latin Liturgical music and composing concerts.
Ensemble Linnamuusikud has recorded a number of performances for Estonian National Radio, participated in an international competition in Arezzo, Italy winning a gold medal and Grand Pri prize and recorded 3 CD’s on Estonian National Radio and Classical Radio initiative.
Lately the ensemble has focused more on studio recording, learning more about the links between different folk hymns and Gregorian chant, and composing new music pieces on that basis. The ensemble’s repertoire also consists of vocal polyphony and instrumental music from medieval to baroque.
One important mission for the ensemble has been educating and training young musicians. That is part of the reason why the ensemble has had many new members over the years. A few members of the ensemble also take care of managing the music programme in the Tallinn Old Town school, “Collegium Educationis Reavaliæ”.
The ensemble seeks to project the beauty of the spiritual life and what the iconographical canons have consistently portrayed.