Harri Sjöström, born on 29 February 1952 in Turku, Finland, found his voice in music on the soprano and sopranino saxophone. His music and fine art studies at Lone Mountain College, University of San Francisco and San Francisco Art Institute in the 1970s led him directly to workshops by John Cage, Bill Dixon, Vinko Globokar, George Russell, and his saxophone teachers Leo Wright and Steve Lacy. Since 1978 continuous extensive work as a freelance musician, composer and initiator of interdisciplinary ensembles in the field of contemporary improvised music and mixed media projects. Back to Europe 1978 he started to work with Derek Bailey, Teppo Hauta-aho, Paul Lovens, John Russell, Paul Rutherford, Alexander von Schlippenbach a.m.o.
In 1980 -1985 he 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.
Between 1990 and 2016 an extensive collaboration with the pianist and composer Cecil Taylor developed, including seven live recordings with small and larger Cecil Taylor ensembles. Of particular note is the Cecil Taylor Quintet with Cecil Taylor / Teppo Hauta-aho / Tristan Honsinger / Paul Lovens / Harri Sjöström. Energetic and with an appetite for risk he founded and co-founded many ensembles with highly interesting instrumental line-ups including such as Quintet Moderne / Sestetto Internazionale, MOVE / European Composers Improvisors Orchestra – ECIO / Up And Out / City Of Pyramids / The Player Is / Motström / The Treasures Are a.o.
Cooperation with Liz Allbee, Yoko Arai, Sergio Armaroli, Rashid Bakr, Matthias Bauer,Thurman Barker, Guy Bettini, Alison Blunt, Tony Buck, Lawrence Casserley, Lena Czerniawska, Andrea Centazzo, Toby Delius, Bill Dixon, Michel Doneda, Axel Dörner, John Edwards, Markus Fagerud, Floros Floridis, Alexander Frangenheim, Emilio Gordoa, Frank Gratkowski, Michael Griener, Elisabeth Harnik, Steve Heather, Tristan Honsinger, DJ – Illvibe, Wilbert de Joode, Achim Kaufmann, Kalle Kalima, Mazen Kerbaj, Veli Kujala, Klaus Kürvers, Okkyung Lee, Hui-Chun Lin, Adam Pultz Melbye, Gianni Mimmo, Kayoko Miyama, Jeffrey Morgan, Libero Mureddu, Dag Magnus Narvesen, Heikki Nikula, Tellef Øgrim, Margaux Oswald, Evan Parker, Luca Pissavini, Guilherme Rodrigues, Steffen Roth, Ignaz Schick, Jean – Michel van Schouwburg, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Günter “Baby” Sommer, Aki Suzuki, Sebi Tramontana, Peeter Uuskyla, Philipp Wachsmann, Els Vandeweyer, Ute Wassermann, Biliana Woutshakowa, Reggie Workman a.m.o.
Harri has been teaching saxophone since 1980 and is a vital member of the European contemporary improvised music scene; he has composed music for film and is still active today with his photography
Photo by Mathias Bothor