Born: August 6th, 1949, Helsinki (Finland)
Jazz pianist, composer, and conductor Olli Ahvenlahti studied the piano at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy between 1960 and 1974. Meanwhile, he also graduated from university in musicology and English philology. In the 1970s, he worked in New York for a while, performing with jazz greats including Mark Soskin and Jim McNeely. Back in Finland, he was a member of various jazz groups, including the Eero Koivistoinen Quartet and (between 1977 and 1982) the UMO Jazz Orchestra. In 1990, he succeeded Ossi Runne as the chief conductor of the Radio Orchestra of YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation); with this ensemble, he appeared in various radio and television programmes.
Between 1990 and 1998, the last year in which an orchestra was present in the Eurovision Song Contest, Ahvenlahti conducted all seven Finnish entries – Finland being excluded from participation in 1995 and 1997 due to bad results in the previous years. Unfortunately, most of these songs finished near the bottom of the scoreboard. The best result was a fifteenth place in 1998 with ‘Aava’, performed by Edea.
In due course, a more extensive biography of Olli Ahvenlahti will be published on this website
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