"Recorder guru Eero Saunamäki has some serious stage charisma. -- It's very rare that you can listen to such an interesting, fun ja luminous performance of contemporary music."
Jari Pitkänen, newspaper Keskisuomalainen 14.3.2019
"Saunamäki's performance was sovereign in all aspects."
Anna Pulkkis, newspaper HBL 7.11.2017
"Thank you for your playing! You made our wedding day a day to remember :)"
Bride, summer 2018
"It was wonderful to listen to your playing and singing on my birthday! Your smiley appearance and your professionalism made a really positive impact on us."
Birthday client, spring 2017
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I've played the recorder and saxophone since my childhood and I've also sang. I started playing my instruments in Tampere Conservatoire and singing in the choir of the Tampere elementary school music classes, the Tactus choir. In my teenage years the choir hobby changed to singing in a band, and I also got interested in different music styles and being a soloist. I went to Tampereen Yhteiskoulun lukio high school, which is oriented in the arts and expression. There I got the chance to do all sorts of music with all sorts of people and I learned that boundaries between musical genres don't mean that much to me.
I started my professional music studies after high school and military service (compulsory for all males in Finland, I did mine in The Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces) in the Sibelius Academy in 2000. There I met many of my current colleagues, the people I play music with. In the Academy I studied recorder playing and I learned a lot about the so called Early music: the music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque. A great discovery for me was the contemporary music from the end of the 20th and until the beginning of the 21st century. I got really fascinated about this style of music and it has led me to premiere over twenty new works for recorder from Finnish composers. In the classical saxophone studies I became familiar with French impressionism, Romantic music from the 19th century and with my buddies from the music education department I did some band gigs in clubs, weddings and other private events.
I graduated as a Master of Music in 2010 after doing A exams (former diploma) in both of my instruments, the recorder and the saxophone. Besides the Sibelius Academy I also studied the recorder privately with the Swedish recorder professor Dan Laurin in Stockholm and both of my instruments in many master classes in Finland and abroad. I also have a cum laude degree in instrument teacher's pedagogical studies from the University of Helsinki.
I've been working in The Guards Band since 2004. This symphonic wind orchestra - the largest in Finland - plays many kinds of music: the repertoire consists of marches (of course), contemporary wind music, light music and jazz for example. I like my job very much, because in the orchestra I can play many different kinds of music since my own musical background is diverse. I work as a special woodwind instrument player, which means I play the saxophones, recorder and do some singing also. In 2016 I started as the leader of the famous Kaartin Combo party band, which is best known for its performances in the Independence Day Ball in the Presidential palace in Helsinki. I love my role as the leader and our band has developed quite a lot during the recent years. The Guards Band consists of 46 musicians and it also has many smaller ensembles. You can find more information about those from the Ensembles page. In 2015 I passed the auditions got listed to the musician roster of the renowned international circus, the Cirque du Soleil.
Year 2017 was a turning point for me professionally. On November 2017 I premiered the recorder concerto Appo by the Finnish composer Jukka Tiensuu with chamber orchestra Avanti in Helsinki. The concerto is commissioned by me. After the successful premiere I have appeared as a soloist in front of numerous Finnish symphony orhestras: The Kymi Sinfonietta, The Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Jyväskylä Symphony and the St. Michel Strings. The Tiensuu concerto has been played for seven times now, and besides that work I have also premiered the concerto by the Finnish composer Jouni Hirvelä. I have worked with conductors Tomas Djupsjöbacka, Dima Slobodeniouk, John Storgårds and Erkki Lasonpalo.
I have taught recorder and saxophone playing in different music schools for ten years since 1998 and since 2008 I've taught recorder playing and chamber music in the Early music department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. I've had many kinds of students: exhange students preparing themselves for the A exam, side instrument players who are just starting to play and specially talented persons from the Junior Academy. I find teaching very interesting and I like it very much. There is a lot going on in The University of Arts and following that kind of artistic academic world is also important.
Besides teaching and orchestra work I do all kinds of gigs in many different ensembles and bands and I also educate myself. I take singing lessons in Helsinki and lessons in free improvisation in Tallinn. I also visit various recorder events in Europe to keep up in the development of the business. I have high ambitions for artistic work, and I do high class concerts with my recorder playing wife Anna, with Päivi Vesalainen who plays the harpsichord and with saxophone quartet Aava. Besides these, I also do free impro gigs, cover band gigs with Femu Brass Band and Tusan Brass and also solo gigs and various performances with the Lifetime trio.
Eero Saunamäki on erittäin muuntautumiskykyinen taiteilija, joka työskentelee Kaartin soittokunnassa puupuhallinten erikoissoittajana (nokkahuilut ja saksofonit), Linnan juhlista tutun Kaartin Combon saksofonistina, laulajana ja johtajana sekä nokkahuilunsoiton opettajana Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemiassa. Saunamäki on myös Suomen nokkahuiluseuran perustajajäsen ja puheenjohtaja.
Eero Saunamäki on soittanut mm. Helsingin kaupunginorkesterin, Tampere Filharmonian, Avantin, Jyväskylä Sinfonian, Lapin kamariorkesterin, Kymi Sinfoniettan ja Mikkelin kaupunginorkesterin nokkahuilusolistina kapellimestareinaan mm. John Storgårds, Dima Slobodeniouk, Atso Almila, Tomas Djupsjöbacka ja József Hárs sekä toiminut lukuisten orkesterien avustajana molemmilla soittimillaan. Lapin kamariorkesterin koululaiskonserttisarjan liiderinä hän toimi keväällä 2020. Saunamäki on kantaesittänyt yli 30 nokkahuiluteosta suomalaisilta ja muilta eurooppalaisilta säveltäjiltä, joukossa mm. Jukka Tiensuun (v. 2017), Jouni Hirvelän (v. 2018) ja Juha Piston (v. 2011) nokkahuilukonsertot. Kalevi Ahon nokkahuilukonsertto saa kantaesityksensä Saunamäen toimesta syksyllä 2021. Eero Saunamäki on myös aktiivinen kamarimuusikko, joka on esiintynyt monipuolisesti niin Suomessa kuin ulkomaillakin (mm. Ranska, Saksa, Pohjoismaat, Venäjä, Yhdysvallat). Hän on saksofonikvartetti Aavan sekä Tusan Brassin baritonisaksofonisti ja nokkahuilistina hänellä on duot mm. nokkahuilisti Anna Saunamäen ja cembalisti Päivi Vesalaisen kanssa. Saunamäen nokkahuilunsoittoa kuullaan mm. Peruna-elokuvassa sekä Iron Danger -tietokonepelissä.
Eero Saunamäki opiskeli 2000-luvun ensimmäisen vuosikymmenen ajan Sibelius-Akatemiassa nokkahuilun- ja saksofoninsoittoa Rabbe Forsmanin ja Pekka Savijoen johdolla ja valmistui musiikin maisteriksi vuonna 2010 suoritettuaan molemmista instrumenteistaan A-tutkinnot. Saunamäki on osallistunut lukuisille ulkomaisille mestarikursseille molemmilla soittimillaan, opettajinaan mm. professorit Dan Laurin ja Claude Delangle. Saunamäki on myös suorittanut kasvatustieteen cum laude -opinnot Helsingin yliopistossa. Saunamäen muusikon uraa ovat tukeneet mm. Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Wihurin rahasto, Teosto, Taike sekä pohjoismaiset kulttuurirahastot.