Senior Conductor

Riku Huhtasalo began his musical studies by learning the piano at the Kankaanpää Music School. Later he switched to guitar, which he studied under Tuomas Hyytinen. He was also acquainted with the accordion, which he was taught by his own father Matti Huhtasalo who was a master folk musician. Huhtasalo began playing his main instrument, the saxophone, at 15 under the tutelage of Pertti Holttinen.

Riku Huhtasalo began his vocational music studies in 1983 at the Defence Forces’ Music School in Helsinki, where he was educated by Pekka Savijoki. He has been the leader of the Dragoon Band since 1 March 2013. Huhtasalo completed his conducting studies at the Military Music School in Lahti and the Sibelius Academy between 1998 and 2000 under notable teachers, including Kalervo Kulmala, Jorma Panula, Pertti Pekkanen and Atso Almila.

Over the course of his career, Riku Huhtasalo has served as an officer-level member of the Lappeenranta Garrison Band/Dragoon Band 1986–1991, officer-level member and deputy conductor of the Ostrobothnia Military Band 1991–2000 and the chief of the Satakunta Military Band 2000–2013.

Alongside his duties, Huhtasalo has taught at various music institutes in the cities where he has been stationed and conducted a variety of wind orchestras. For example, he led the Rauma City Wind Orchestra between 2006 and 2010.
Huhtasalo has also arranged and composed music for wind orchestras. His piece called ‘Salpa March’ won the national march composition contest held in Lappeenranta in 2010, the purpose of which was to find a unique march for the Lappeenrannan Reservinaliupseerit association.