Field of Art: Jazz Guitarist
Olli Hirvonen is a Finnish jazz guitarist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He is one of the most accomplished Finnish guitarist of his generation, having already been chosen as the Artist of the Year of the Pori International Jazz Festival 2011 and having an international career well on it’s way.
Born in the city of Lappeenranta, a lakeside town in southeast Finland, he began his musical studies at the age of nine at the local music institute with classical guitar and piano.
After finishing high school in 2008, Hirvonen began his studies at the prestigious jazz department of Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he got to study with Tim Hagans, Raoul Björkenheim and Teemu Viinikainen. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in June 2011.
In August 2011 he relocated to New York City to pursue his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he had a chance to study with such jazz luminaries as Rodney Jones, Dave Liebman, Jim McNeely, John Riley and Phil Markowitz. His curriculum there also included composing classical and electro-acoustic music. He graduated in the spring of 2013 with excellent grades.
Hirvonen has been performing with his own ensembles all around the world since 2008. These performances include festivals in Finland and abroad, including the Kennedy Center Nordic Cool 2013 Festival, UCLA European Jazz Festival, Sounds NEW Contemporary Music festival in UK, the main stage of Pori Jazz, the most famous jazz festival of Finland, and Tudengijazz in Estonia, and numerous clubs in New York and around, such as Cornelia St. Cafe, Bar Next Door, Bitter End, Stone Pony, Rockwood Music Hall and Caffe Vivaldi.
Hirvonen was nominated as the Artist of the Year of the Pori Jazz 2011 festival, which is one of the highest and the most visible recognitions in the Finnish jazz scene. Included in the award, his trio also worked as the house band for the 2011 festival.
The other ensembles he has been performing with are the international sextet Life Size, the trio Ohne, a winner of the Finnish Young Nordic Jazz Comets competition of 2010, and the big bands Umo Jazz Orchestra and The Great Helsinki Swing Big Band.
Hirvonen’s debut album Detachment was released in April 2014.