The Finnmish organist, Jan Lehtola, studied the organ in Helsinki (with Professor Olli Porthan and Kari Jussila), Amsterdam (with Professor Jacques van Oortmerssen and Jean Boyer), Stuttgart (with Professor Ludger Lohmann), Lyon (with Professor Louis Robilliard) and Paris (with Professor Naji Hakim). He graduated from the Church Music Department of the Sibelius Academy, gaining his diploma with distinction in 1998. In 2000 he gave his Sibelius Academy debut recital in Kallio Church, Helsinki, and in 2005 received a Doctorate for his dissertation on Oskar Merikanto as a transmitter of European influences to Finland.
International organ virtuoso, Jan Lehtola is one the most successful and progressive Finnish organists of his generation. He has appeared with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and St. Michel Strings. He has performed at many international festivals, including the Lahti Organ Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Time of Music in Viitasaari, the Tampere Biennale, Musica nova Helsinki, the Turku, Mikkeli, Mänttä and Hauho Music Festivals and the annual Festival of New Organ Music in London. He has worked with conductors including Kent Nagano, Juha Kangas, Sakari Oramo, Muhai Tang and Osmo Vänskä, amongst others. He has also given recitals in leading European concert halls such as Gewandhaus in Leipzig and cathedrals and churches such as La Trinité in Paris, Berlin, Magdeburg, Riga and Tallinn Doms, St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London.
Jan Lehtola collaborates regularly with composers and has given more than 100 world and regional premieres. He has had works written for him by Harri Ahmas, Kalevi Aho, Atso Almila, Thierry Escaich, Naji Hakim, Paavo Heininen, Carita Holmström, Juha T. Koskinen, Olli Kortekangas, Juha Leinonen, Jouko and Jyrki Linjama, Jukka Linkola, Paola Livorsi, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Axel Ruoff, Martin Stacey and Riikka Talvitie. In 2003 he organised the first International Naji Hakim Festival in Helsinki. He has been the Artistic Director of the Organo Novo Festival in Helsinki since 2007 and Chairman of the Finnish Organum Society from 2009 to 2014.
Jan Lehtola has recorded for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and can be heard on more than thirty commercial recordings (on the Alba, Ondine, Jubal, IFO and Fuga labels) in repertoire including works by J.S. Bach, Naji Hakim, Paavo Heininen, Jouko Linjama, Felix Mendelssohn, Oskar Merikanto, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Camille Saint-Saëns, Robert Schumann and Charles-Marie Widor.
Jan Lehtola is a Lecturer in Organ Music in the Sibelius Academy. He is also active as a lecturer and a teacher of master-classes.