About

Sanni Orasmaa is a native of Helsinki, Finland, currently commuting between Munich, Germany and Helsinki. She is an active singer with a strong Scandinavian influence as well as a composer and an educator. During her New York years you could catch her unique northern sound in various downtown clubs and restaurants, Sanni has appeared at venues such as the Knitting Factory and the Rainbow Room, Sweet Basil, Blue Note and the Cornelia Street Cafe. She has been featured monthly at the Smoke Jazz Club and shared often Monday nights at the Bar Next Door with guitarist Ben Monder. Sanni Orasmaa has worked in independent film, radio and live with various collaborators, her past projects include performances with Charlie Hunter – Bobby Previte Duo, Kirk Nurock’s “Cross-Species” Ensemble, and the Swiss composer George Gruntz’s jazz opera “Magic of a Flute”.
Sanni joined her first vocal group at the age of five and started the piano lessons at the age of six. Her great uncle who collected and composed traditional Finnish folk music inspired her and gave her material to work with. Sanni Orasmaa had her first appearance as a singer at the age of five in the national TV broadcast in Finland.
Sanni began her professional career performing at the local venues as a soloist of dance bands and choirs. She made her first international solo appearance at the age of seventeen in Lithuania. Orasmaa attended the Pop/Jazz Conservatory of Helsinki as a voice major and moved to Austria in 1996 to continue her studies in the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. Her professors there were legendary New York based vocalists Mark Murphy, Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan, who became her mentor. Sanni graduated from the Jazz Department with Master’s Degree in June 2000.
Already during her studies Sanni Orasmaa was performing in clubs and festivals around the world. She traveled as a soloist as well as with her trio Saaga who performed mostly her original material. While still in Austria, Sanni won the Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, an international competition for young artists who are dual musicians and composers, and was invited to join a workshop and three performances at the Kennedy-Center in Washington, D.C. in April 2000. She was also featured in NPR’s Jazz Set program, then hosted by Branford Marsalis.
Sanni was invited to teach at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and has been a member of the school’s jazz faculty since 2001. She is a recipient of the American Scandinavian Society’s Artist Grant 2005 as well as the Arts Council of Finland Artist Grant 2006. Sanni Orasmaa has been profiled by PRI’s Jazz Smithsonian in the documentary series “The Jazz Singers”, hosted by Al Jarreau. She served as the University Lecturer for Music and Voice at the Tampere University in Finland 2014-2016 and currently holds position the Senior Lecturer at the jazz department of the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts in Germany.

Past Performances

Panevezys Jazz Festival; Panevezys, Lithuania; 1989
Various performances; Beijing and Chengde, China; 1995
July Jazz Festival; Amherst, MA, USA; 1996 and 1998
Porgy and Bess; Vienna, Austria; 1996
May Festival; Krakow, Poland; 1998 and 1999
July Jazz Festival; Krakow, Poland; 1998, 1999 and 2000
Vawel Jazz Festival; Krakow, Poland; 1999
Various performances; Venice, Italy; 2000 Tour with Nicola Fazzini Group
Stephanien Saal; Graz, Austria; 2000
Kennedy Center; Washington, DC, USA; 2000
Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Award Concerts
Pori Jazz Festival; Pori, Finland; 2000 & 2001
Various performances; Sweden; 2001; Tour with Mika Pohjola
Various performances; Kiev, Ukraine; 2002; Tour with Mika Pohjola
Various performances; Greece; 2003; Tour with Lakis Tzimkas Orchestra
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, NYC, USA 2004; Sketches for Dunbar and Johnson; A concert celebrating the works of writers Paul Laurence Dunbar & James Weldon Johnson; Sanni Orasmaa, Renee Manning, Brad Leali, Benny Russell, Duane Eubanks, Cecil Bridgewater, Earl McIntyre, Terence Conle, Donald Smith, Eric Lemon, Mark Johnson
Knitting Factory, NYC, USA 2004; Charlie Hunter, Bobby Previte, Sanni Orasmaa, DJ Olive
Kirk Nurock’s “Cross-Species” Works at Tenri Cultural Center, NYC USA 2004; Kirk Nurock, Jay Clayton, Sanni Orasmaa, Art Baron, Dewey (Chinese Crested Dog), Assorted Doves & other creatures
Pori Jazz Festival, 2005, Finland; Sanni Orasmaa & Heikki Sarmanto, Orasmaa’s arrangements on Sarmanto works
American Scandinavian Society Cultural Grant Awards 2005, NYC; ASS awards Sanni Orasmaa a grant based on her outstanding achievement and exceptional talent.
UMO Jazz House, Helsinki, FIN, plus various performances 2005; Tour with Michael Kahr, Ape Anttila & Marko Timonen
Various performances with George Gruntz Orchestra; USA, Germany, Austria; 2006-2007; Magic of a Flute, Jazz Opera; Solo & ensemble parts
Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, Finland, 2006; Concert honoring the life and work of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaja
Stadt Theater Fürth, Nürnberg, Germany, 2007; Mayim Mayim! International Dance & Music collaboration; 5 performances, soloist
Various performances with RinneRadio & Pekka Kuusisto, Finland; 2007-2008
Future Music Festival, Muhu Island, Estonia; 2008
RinneRadio, Kesselhaus, Berlin, Germany; 2008
RinneRadio, Tavastia Klubi, Helsinki, Finland; 2008; RinneRadio, Ulla Pirttijärvi
Leichtes Spiel by Botho Strauß, Residenz Theater, Munich, Germany, 2009-2011; Soloist of the orchestra, 26 performances
Munich Philharmonie Hall; Germany; 2009
Württemberg Saal, Stuttgart, Germany; 2009
Pori Jazz Festival, Finland; 2009
Saulkrasti Jazz Festival, Riga, Latvia; 2009
Einhalden Festival; Germany; 2008 & 2012; Gregor & Veit Huebner w/ Sanni Orasmaa, Richie Beirach, Pedro & Joao Moreira and Göran Klinghagen
Alkestis by Raoul Schrott, Residenz Theater, Munich, Germany, 2009-2011; Dieter Dorn, director; Jörgen Rose, staging; Sanni Orasmaa, music; Solo voice, 30 performances
Grand Theatre Luxembourg, Luxemburg; 2010; Drums and Dance, Rituals, Directed by Jean Guillaume Weis; 2 performances, soloist in the orchestra
Théâtre d’Esch, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg 2010; Drums and Dance, Rituals, Directed by Jean Guillaume Weis; 3 performances, soloist in the orchestra
Culture Hall Fuerth, Nuremberg, Germany; 2010; Lemminkäinen meets Modern Times; Sirius String Quartet (NYC) feat. Sanni Orasmaa, cond. Gregor Huebner; Live recording for the German PBS
Pori Jazz Festival, Finland; 2010; Let’s play Voice! Three day workshop in vocal styles and improvisation at Pori Jazz Kids plus concerts
Central Park Boat House, NYC, NY; 2010
Various performances, Finland; 2010; Poetry of Eino Leino, Sanni Orasmaa w/ Gregor Huebner
Royal Academy of Music, Århus, Denmark; 2010; Leino compositions with orchestra
Viapori Jazz, Helsinki, Finland; 2010; Innanen ja Ellington feat. Sanni Orasmaa. Live recording for the Finnish PBS YLE
Savonlinna Hall, Finland 2011; Big band arrangements on Sanni’s Leino compositions, arranged by Paroni Paakkunainen & Petri Krzywacki among others
Pyhän Laurin Kappeli / St. Lars Chapel, Vantaa, Finland 2011-2012; Valo-Concert series with Innanen, Hohti, Ikonen, Krzywacki, Assefa
Kaukametsän Sali, Kajaani, Finland, 2011; Kajaani Poetry Weeks. Evening of Eino Leino. Solo performance.
Ars Nova, Turku, Finland, 2011; Collaboration with Dance Project “Wounds of Love” (R.I.P.) Maria Nurmela; Music, movement, art, spoken word; an installation by the fireplace.
Prinzregententheater, Munich, Germany, 2011; Munich Radio Orchestra with Ensemble JUNO, Lothar Hensel (bandoneon) and Sanni Orasmaa (voice), conducted by Norbert Nagel, Live Broadcast by BR
Verkatehdas, Hämeenlinna, Finland, 2011; 21st Century Baroque Trio, Live Broadcast by YLE
Kulttuurisali, Mäntyharju, Finland, 2011; Sanni Orasmaa w/ Peter Lerche
JazzAhead! Bremen, Germany; 2012; Slo Motive, Live Broadcast by BR
Finlands Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 2012
Tampere Jazz Happening, Finland; 2012
Mäntyharjun kirkko, Mäntyharju, Finland; 2012; Sanni Orasmaa, Gregor Huebner, Tino Derado
Theater No99, Tallinn plus various performances, Estonia, Finland; 2012; Tour with Slo Motive
Kerava Jazz Festival, Finland; 2013; Orasmaa-Innanen-Ikonen

Recordings

M.A.R.S.: M.A.R.S. (1996) IKACD-006
Boston Promenade: Walking The Big Duck (1997) BPCD4
Himbeerorchester: Tief In der Haut und Hoch In der Luft (1999) 150 761-2
KUG: The Dukebox – A Celebration Of The Music Of E.K. Ellington (1999) KUG 17
Clay Giberson: The Upper Road (2002) Origin 82397
Mika Pohjola: The Music Of Mika Pohjola (2002) Change Records
Lakis Tzimkas: Many Faces (2004)
Mika Pohjola: Scandinavian Yuletide Voices (2004) Change Records
Mika Pohjola, Henrik Lambert, Sanni Orasmaa, Eeppi Ursin: A Lark in a Snowstorm: Celebrating the Music of Toivo Kärki (2005) Change Records
Dave Hopkins: Live from Smith’s (2006) Sea Change Records
RinneRadio: On (2007) Rockadillo
Sanni Orasmaa: Laulun Lapsi (2010) Ursula
Claus Reichstaller: Leichtes Spiel SOUNDTRACK (2011) Conception Records
Gerd Baumann: Sommer In Orange SOUNDTRACK (2011) Roxy Film & Odeon Pictures
SLOMotive: Arrival (2012) Eclipse Music

Films

George Gruntz by Werner Zeindler (2007) Artfilm
Mayim Mayim Film by Jakov Sedlar (2009) Stadttheater Fürth / CroFilm; Documentary of the Mayim Mayim Dance Production
Sommer in Orange (2011) Roxy Film & Odeon Pictures