Sofia Jalonen

Sofia Jalonen 1 - Small.jpg

I am a Finnish-born classical saxophonist, daughter of a punk rock singer and guitarist, and hardheaded overachiever.

Music was never a choice for me as much as it was something I was born in the middle of. We would always have instruments laying around the house when I was growing up but it was not until I was 7 years old that I picked up my first woodwind instrument; flute.

I joined a local youth orchestra when I was 9 and got involved with even more new exciting instruments, and when I turned 10 I fell in love with another; clarinet.
But unfortunately my newly found love interest lasted only until I was 12 as that is when I came across the one true love of my life; saxophone.

I must confess.. It was not love at first sight.

My teacher back then was also the conductor of the youth orchestra I had joined a while back and one day she asked me if I could start playing tenor saxophone instead as the orchestra was in need of one. I was not too eager to swap to this monstrously big instrument but she convinced me... And everyday since, I have been grateful she did!

Classical music was and is a clear choice for me. It expresses emotions and experiences in ways that word never can and as a cliche as this quote is, there is an essential truth to the statement. And if you have met me, you know exactly how awkward I am with words at times so it only made sense for me to find other ways to express myself!

"But wait, aren't saxophonist supposed to be all jazz and stuff?" you might ask.
The short answer is no. We are indeed a rare breed but classical saxophonist do also exist.

There are also quite a few classical pieces written to a saxophone and even if there was no sheet music available for a piece I insisted on playing, this did not stop me from playing it. I would just write sheet music myself if I had to!

I remember being obsessed with Brahms's Cello concerto in E-minor around when I was in

highschool. I remember my teacher telling me it would be impossible to find sheet music for this and silly to even think of playing it... But as an incredibly stubborn person that I am, I found the music and played it anyway!

I absolutely adored Brahms back then (I still do), he could not write a wrong note in my opinion.
And as a contrast, I hated Bach. His music was like German sausage to my ears and gave me a proper headache for days. I begged my teacher not to make me play Bach but he insisted.

There were also times when I strayed... The longest affair I ever had was with blues rock, this lasted almost 2 years, but more than once jazz tempted me to the dark side.
I enjoyed the music and the musicians always seemed to me to be having so much more fun than us classical people were. Yet I always returned back to classical after a while.

Today, I no longer hate Bach (as much) and I am preparing for my Master‘s in performing arts.

I am forever grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me all these years, especially to all my brilliant teachers. I am also grateful to those, who told me I could or should not do it.
Because even though you made me doubt myself, you only made me work harder for what I want while wanting to prove you and the little devil sitting on my shoulder to be wrong.

This is not my resume. This is also not filled with secrets and specific details of my embarrassing younger years as that information is savoured only for the best of my friends. This is simply a brief story of who I am and how I became the musician I am today.