Ulf Söderblom

Finnish conductor and teacher Ulf Söderblom was born on 5 February 1930 in Turku, where he studied piano and theory, then with Otto Anderson at Åbo Akademi University and with Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Music Academy.

He began conducting in 1957, with his debut in Turku in The Magic Flute, and in the same year began working for Finnish National Opera as a choral conductor. For twenty years, from 1973, he was Finnish National Opera's chief conductor and music director, touring with them to Berlin, London, Oslo, Prague and Stockholm. He was also involved in reviving Savonlinna Opera Festival (which had been dormant for fifty years), conducting Beethoven's Fidelio in 1967 and going on to perform operas by contemporary Finnish composers such as Erik Bergman and those listed below.

He conducted first performances of several works by Finnish composers, including The Last Temptations by Joonas Kokkonen and Kullervo and The Horseman by Aulis Sallinen, and made the first recording of Aare Merikanto's Juha.

He taught conducting at the Sibelius Academy (1965-8) and later at Åbo Akademi University.

Ulf Söderblom died on 4 February 2016.