Harri Sjöström (soprano saxophone)
Born 29 February1952 in Turku, Finland. Played piano, guitar and drums in his childhood. Studied music and fine art photography at University of San Francisco, Lone Mountain College from 1974 - 1978; later film studies at the Art Institute of San Francisco. Saxophone and flute with Harry Man, Leo Wright, Friedhelm Schönfeld, Steve Lacy. Also further piano studies at the San Francisco Conservatory; attended special class for contemporary improvised music at the Lone Mountain College led by trombonist and composer Johannes Mager; composition studies at the electro acoustic music department at Hochschule Für Musik Wien, Austria; composition class led by composers Prof. Haubenstock-Ramati and Prof. Friedrich Cerha.
The joyful, creative and intensive experiences with contemporary music and contemporary improvised music studies as well as visual art studies captivated him so much that he has worked intensively ever since with contemporary music and contemporary improvised music and in mixed media projects including film, photography, visual arts, theater and dance.
Has also participated in master courses and workshops held by John Cage, George Russell, Steve Lacy, Bill Dixon, Daniel Kientzy, Vinko Globokar, Evan Parker, Cecil Taylor.
After leaving the US, Harri moved back to his home country Finland. In1980 -1985 he also lived in Vienna, Austria, which became his doorway to the European contemporary music scene; formed his first groups and organized numerous artist exchange-projects in Finland and elsewhere. Brought many of the most notable innovators on the international contemporary improvisation scene to Finland. One of his exclusive early projects included a tour with Derek Bailey Company, which was their first in Finland; Bailey’s visit in Finland was largely commented by the finish press as »the occurrence« of the year in the contemporary music scene; moved to Berlin in 1985.
Founded the international Quintet Moderne and; co-founded the The Player Is trio with Teppo Hauta-aho and Philipp Wachsmann, Harri Sjöström as well as founding the groups: Harri Sjöström Quartet, Three Meters Dog, Wait, Motström, Up And Out, ECIO (European Contemporary Improvisation Orchestra); since 1989 in collaboration with the British guitarist John Russell a.o. in Russells international Mopomoso (MOdernism POstMOdernism)projects.
These ongoing ensembles and collaborations include internationally leading musicians mainly from different countries in Europe and his home country of Finland.
In 1990, Harri met Cecil Taylor in Berlin and has been involved in a large number of projects with the legendary pianist and composer. Among others in:
Cecil Taylor Quintet Desperados: Cecil Taylor, Paul Lovens, Teppo Hauta-aho, Tristan Honsinger, Harri Sjöström.
Cecil Taylor Quintet Regulus: Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley, Barry Guy, Wolfgang Fuchs, and Harri Sjöström.
Cecil Taylor Quintet: Cecil Taylor, Tristan Honsinger, Reggie Workman, Rashid Bakr, and Harri Sjöström.
Cecil Taylor Quartet Qua: Cecil Taylor, Dominic Duval, Jackson Krall, Harri Sjöström;
has collaborated with a large number of leading musicians in the international contemporary music scene since the late 70s and performed at numerous international jazz and contemporary music festivals.
Occasionally performs solo and is involved in making film music. Harri Sjöström has been a saxophone teacher since 1980 and is a vital member of the European contemporary improvised music scene.