Born February 29 1952 in Turku, Finland. Played piano and guitar in his childhood. Studied music with Hary Mann, (saxophone, flute, piano), later saxophone with Leo Wright and Steve Lacy as well as photography and film at the Lone Mountain College and San Francisco Art Institute from 1974 – 1978. Also attended the special class for improvisation at the L.M.C. led by trombonist Johannes Mager.
This joyful, creative and intensive experience with musical and theatrical improvisation captivated him so much that since then he has nearly always worked with improvised music and in numerous mixed media projects including film, photography, visual arts and dance. He also attended workshops held by John Cage, George Russell, Steve Lacy and Bill Dixon among others. After touring with Derek Bailey’s Company, Harri founded the international “QUINTET MODERNE” and co-founded the “THE PLAYER IS” trio with Teppo Hauta-aho and Philipp Wachsmann. In 1990, Harri met Cecil Taylor in Berlin and has been involved in a large number of projects with the legendary pianist and composer since. Has collaborated with notable leading improvisors in the international scene since the late 70s and performed at numerous international jazz and contemporary music festivals. His more recent duo with soprano player Gianni Mimmo toured a.o. in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Uk, Finland and their album “Live at Bauchhund, Berlin 2010” out for Amirani Records has received excellent reviews from magazines all over the world. Occasionally performs solo and is involved in composing film soundtrancks. Harri Sjöström has been a saxophone teacher since 1980 and is a vital member of the European improvised music scene.