Pekka Toivanen (b. 1961) was born in Helsinki. His early training included piano and clarinet lessons in a local music school. After having heard Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker on the radio it was clear what kind of music was to become “his cup of tea”. After high school Pekka Toivanen (after finishing Hotel Management College) entered the jazz department of Sibelius Academy among the first five students ever.


Wade Mikkola Quintet record release concert.

Left to right: Lasse Hirvi, piano, Wade Mikkola, bass, Tomi Parkkonen, drums, Pekka Toivanen, sax and Markku Johansson, trumpet


Pekka Toivanen has performed with a variety of artists over the years. Here are some of his projects:

With own group Pekka Toivanen Quartet featuring Saara Soisalo, voc. at all major festivals in Finland (Pori Jazz, April Jazz Espoo, Helsinki Sea Jazz ao.)


With Espoo Big Band 1988-92:
-Juan-Les-Pins (France)
-SoHo Jazz Festival (London)
-IAJE Conference Miami (USA)


With Uuden Musiikin Orkesteri UMO Jazz Orchestra 1990-92


With Oiling Boiling Rhythm And Blues Band
-Djakarta International Jazz festival (Indonesia)


Co-leader of the experimental group Analemma Orchestra


Saxophonist of R&B band Zekosto


Has accompanied ao. Benny Bailey, Georgie Fame, Jeannie Bryson, Ed Thigpen on their visit in Finland

Co-leader of Pekka Toivanen-Wade Mikkola Quintet

Member of Helsinki Jazz Phantoms – Scandinavian jazz group with
Göran Larsén, sax (SWE), Ulf Johansson-Werre, trombone (SWE), Majken Christiansen, vocal (DEN), Jan Adefelt, bass (SWE), Tomi Parkkonen, drums (FIN), Petri Krzywacki, guitar (FIN)

Pekka Toivanen has conducted several big bands in Finland:
-TOMO Big Band (Turku)
-Joensuu Conservatory Big Band
-Karjaa Youth Big band
-Kokkola Big Band Kaarle
-Espoo Big Band (April Jazz 1997 with Joe Henderson, 1998 with McCoy Tyner)


Discussing program with the legend, Joe Henderson


Teacher at Savonia University of Applied Sciences since 2009