Kuva/ Photo: Teemu Salminen
Antti Rissanen (b. 1975) started his musical career at the age of 6 with piano lessons and was soon familiarized with improvisation as the piano lessons were based on the Suzuki method where listening and producing own music are essential. In the wind instrument orchestra of his elementary school Rissanen chose euphonium as his main instrument which then was replaced with trombone in the Junior Big Band of Kotka when Rissanen was 13-years-old. Rissanen anyway continued the classical piano lessons in the Junior Academy of Sibelius Academy in 1991-1995, despite of the main instrument trombone.
Rissanen was accepted to the jazz department of Sibelius Academy in 1994. A year after he moved to Germany for three years to study under american trombonist Jiggs Whigham. In Germany Rissanen won second prize in the international composing competition of the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Frankfurt in 1996 and a couple years later he also won the jazztrombone competition of the International Trombone Association in U.S..
The studies at Sibelius Academy continued in 1997 but were interrupted again in 1999 when Rissanen moved to New York to study in The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music for a year. Despite of the abrupted studies and years abroad Rissanen was able to graduate from SIbelius Academy as the first jazztrombonist ever in 2001. The most important band for Rissanen at that time was Mr. Fonebone, a quintet formed with saxophonist Mikko Innanen, that toured around Finland in spring 1998 and organized series of concerts the next year where Canadian trumpetist Ingrid Jensen featured as a soloist. The band has re-activated for gigs in Finland once in a while and also performed actively abroad, i.a. in Germany and Iceland.
In 21st century Rissanen has led also the electric groovejazz band, Antti Rissanen Electric Band, and Nordic Project which he formed with New Yorker bass player Ted Trimble. The band did a tour organized by the Jazz Federation in fall 2004 and is, according to Rissanen, ready to active for gigs when needed. Rissanen has also played in the septet of Teemu Salminen and drummer Jussi Lehtonen's band In the Spirit of Jaco Pastorius. Rissanen played with UMO for the first time in the middle of 1990's but has had time for the big band more after returning to Finland. He made his debut as the conductor of UMO in his own composition concert in 1999 and since January 2007 he has shared the place as the 1. trombonist with Jari Hongisto.
Besides playing trombone, Rissanen conducts big bands and composes music for them. As a permanent conductor of Imatra Big Band he has been since 2004 but he has also conducted many other distinguished Finnish big bands, like Settlement Big Band, Stadia Big Band, UMO and Espoo Big Band. In July 2005 the first Antti Rissanen trombone competition was organized and it is now arranged every third year.
Rissanen himself has gained lots of attention during his career: besides all the prizes he has won, he was also issued with the Brassplayer of the Year recognition by Lieksa's Brassweek in 2002. On of the highlights of his career, according to Rissanen himself, has been the arrangement of the international trombone festival in Helsinki in 2003.