Born in Porto, Portugal, João Luis started his musical studies at the age of eight in Conservatorio de Musica do Porto and was accepted in the Percussion class three years later. He continued his music studies in Porto until 2010 when he was accepted to Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa. There he studied orchestral percussion, including snare drum, timpani, marimba, vibraphone, multi-percussion set-up and jazz drum set. He was also trained in chamber music, orchestra, early music groups as well as jazz combos.

During this period Joao developed a very versatile language as an improviser and performer, having cooperated with professional orchestras in Portugal and in Finland, as well as folk music groups, jazz ensembles and musical theatre plays.

As a pedagogue, Joao has taught percussion, percussion ensemble and orchestral percussion in the internationally-known social orchestra project El Sistema, which is part of the national system of children and youth orchestras created in Venezuela and in Portugal.

Today, João is based in Helsinki where he’s studying for his bachelor’s degree in the Global Music Program at the Sibelius Academy, where his main instruments are multi-percussion, vibraphone and drum set. He also continues teaching at Tempo-Orkesteri, part of the El Sistema project in Finland.

Please contact us to set up a trial lesson with João!


Where are you from and what instruments do you play?
I’m from Portugal and I play percussion and drums.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?
I would be a pilot or an architect.

Where did you study?
In Porto conservatory, at the superior music school in Lisbon and at the University of Évora.

Where are you studying now?
Sibelius Academy

What was the thing that got you interested in music?
The possibilities of artistic freedom. Also, playing in group, it’s one of the most beautiful sensations I’ve ever experienced. The connections between the players can be out of this world.

Why are you in Finland?
For all the three reasons people migrate: love, studies and work.

Who is your favourite musician/composer?
This one is really hard, there are so many!! From Copland to Tchaikovsky, Pat Metheny to Brad Mehldau, Amália Rodrigues e Zeca Afonso, Richard Bona, Avishai Cohen…

What has been your most special musical experience to date?
Being on stage with an orchestra of 500 young students of Orquestra Geração (Portuguese El Sistema) playing great symphonic pieces.

Do you have any secret/not-so-secret (unmusical) talents?

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Tea or coffee?
Depends on the season

Cats or dogs?

Salad or Pizza?
Pizza, of course!

What is your favourite country to visit?
New Zealand

What is your favourite season?

What is your favourite food?
Hot Pot

Do you have hobbies?
Sketching and bicycling.