Sonja Virtanen comes from Helsinki, Finland. She started studying music at the Pakila Music Institute at the age of 7, learning Nordic folk music on the recorder, and studying music theory and solfege as well as music history. At the age of 15 she started playing the saxophone, and, before long, lost her heart to the instrument. She went on to study for her degree, Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies at the Leeds College of Music, playing in the College's Big Bands and leading her own jazz quartet.
After graduating Sonja worked as a lead alto saxophonist for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, travelling the world and playing shows in the big theatres of the huge cruise ships. Cruising was fun, but Sonja was missing London, and moved back in 2008, and since then has been teaching woodwind instruments to children of all ages and playing music all around London. Sonja loves jazz and playing in big bands.