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Olli Vänskä

Olli Yrjö Antero Vänskä
Born June 1, 1981, Riihimäki

Bachelor of Arts 2014 (Musicology), University of Helsinki
Bachelor of Business Administration 2006 (international trade), Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Journalist 2011– Talentum Oyj
Musician 2002–

Publications, awards and special achievements:
2011 Best Band – Finnish Metal Awards
2011 Best Album (Stand Up And Fight) – Finnish Metal Awards
2011 Best cover art (Stand Up And Fight) – Finnish Metal Awards
2010 Artist of the Decade, Terrorizer magazine 1/8
2009 Cultural prize of the Arts Council of Häme
2006 Best New Band – Metal Hammer UK ( readers’ poll)

Photo: Jari Tomminen
Written by Olli Vänskä (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

A Violinist in war paint

Olli Vänskä inherited his interest in music from his family. He was introduced to the life of a professional musician early on at concerts conducted by his father, the conductor Osmo Vänskä.

Having music as a hobby was more a rule than an exception in the family, and so too the younger Vänskä began to study violin and enrolled in a music class in elementary school.

His studies continued at a music institute, following the normal pattern. In addition to music lessons, the students were introduced to the work of a musician by playing in an orchestra as well as in different chamber music ensembles. Trio Toivottomat (or ‘Trio Hopeless’) fared much better than their name suggests. Later on, playing in the youth symphony orchestra Vivo offered Vänskä a taste of the more professional side of musicianship.

Despite his classical schooling and display of skills, Vänskä never seriously considered a career as a professional musician. Working as a section string player in an orchestra did not strike him as glamorous, and the solemnity associated with classical music felt estranging. And one cannot make the cut in professional circles without proper motivation.

Vänskä’s own taste in music had long moved in a different direction. His studies in classical music came to a conclusive end in the year 2000, and after that his focus has shifted from classical music to an easier if heavier genre.

As an adult, Vänskä has participated in different musical theatre productions, studio sessions and multidisciplinary performances. He has played everything from jazz to heavy metal, and improvised and posed on stage in a tailcoat as well as in war paint.

In recent years, the Hämeenlinna-based metal band Turisas has been first and foremost to Vänskä. Since 2004, Vänskä has played about 750 gigs with the band and has toured the world multiple times. In the autumn of 2015, the band heads to Latin America for the second time, and in November and December they will play 11 shows in Finland.

Olli Vänski in a promotional photo from 2011. Photo: Audrey Dujardin.


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