Born in Finland, Sami Tammilehto is a versatile percussionist based in London. He holds a degree in percussion performance from Tampere Music Academy and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Academy of Music. Over the course of his studies he has had lessons with a variety of professionals. These include Colin Currie, Joe Locke, Eric Sammut, Paul Clarvis, Dave Hassell, Steve Quigley (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Simon Carrington (London Philharmonic Orchestra), Sam Walton (London Symphony Orchestra), Bill Lockhart (English National Opera) and Benedict Hoffnung (London Mozart Players).
Sami has had the chance to perform alongside some of the world’s top musicians. Highlights of his time at the Royal Academy of Music include a performance with Sir Elton John and Ray Cooper, a performance of Steve Reich’s Drumming alongside Colin Currie, and an appearance at the Aldeburgh Music Festival performing Pierre Boulez’s music for his 90th anniversary celebrations. In 2015 he also performed at the Viitasaari Time of Music Festival broadcast live on YLE Radio 1, and had album recordings aired on BBC Radio 3. Active in the field of contemporary music, Sami has played music by some of today’s most prominent composers under their personal guidance including Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Oliver Knussen, and Hans Abrahamsen.
Sami has attended multiple courses and masterclasses in percussion with highly acclaimed performers and educators including Steven Schick, Philippe Spiesser, She-e Wu, Christopher Lamb (New York Philharmonic), Marinus Komst (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), Wieland Welzel (Berliner Philharmoniker), Peter Erskine, David Mattacks, and Airto Moreira. To supplement his musical skills, he has also studied orchestral conducting and Chinese traditional music.
A founder of the ensemble ÄÄNI-kollektiivi launched in April 2015 in Berlin, Sami is combining live music with other art forms. Remarkable collaborations include a multi award winning photographer Meeri Koutaniemi, and a linguist Tatjana Jefremova from the Mari El republic, Russia. ÄÄNI-kollektiivi also hosts an annual festival Kaivos at the old copper mine in Outokumpu Finland.
His recent collaborations include work with a Grammy award winning engineer and producer Ricky Damian, a performance of contemporary percussion music and choreography with the Roehampton University, and a live show with the electronic artist Chris Kaz whom he collaborated with on Track 01 which was premiered by the ID-Magazine and featured on BBC Radio 1Xtra in April 2016. From August 2017, Sami will be playing drums in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats.