Erik Söderblom was born in 1958 in Helsinki. He studied piano and cello since childhood. After finishing school he studied philosophy and arts at Helsinki University. Having initiated his theatre studies in London, he went to Munich, where he studied opera directing with August Everding at the Hochshule für Musik. From 1982 to 1985 he conducted the Chamber Strings of Helsinki-ensemble. At the same time he continued his studies at the Theatre Academy of Helsinki. He graduated from the directors class in 1987.
Between 1988 and 1990 Söderblom was director of Turku City Theatre. In 1990 he – together with a group of young actors, directors, writers and set designers of his generation – started up the Q-teatteri in Helsinki. With this ensemble he made an acknowledged series of directions of both newly written Finnish texts and classical texts such as Feodor Dostoevsky´s Writings from the cellar, Williams Shakespeare´s Hamlet and Twelfth Night and Leo Tolstoy´s War and Peace. All these productions have been shown on festivals in Finland and abroad. Today Q-teatteri is recognized as one of the artistically leading ensembles in Finland.
Söderblom was chairman of the board and artistic leader of Q-teatteri between 1996-2002. On his initiative Q-teatteri founded the Baltic Circle, a network for free theatre groups around the Baltic Sea. Q-teatteri also hosts the important international Baltic Circle theatre festival. Söderblom was the first artistic leader of this festival.
Alongside with his work with Q-teatteri, Söderblom has directed in theatres around Finland and abroad. The best known of his international work is the prize-winning staging of Jouko Turkka´s play Connecting People in Von Krahli-theater in Tallinn.
In recent years he has returned to opera and is considered to be a leading Finnish opera director. He has directed performances such as the prize-winning productions of Mozart´s Entführung aus dem Serail and Le Nozze di Figaro at Pori Opera and the huge outdoor performance of Wagner´s Der fliegende Holländer in Turku.
Söderblom has been praised for his directions of contemporary opera. As a trained musician he has the ability to read also intricate new music scores and has directed the world premieres of several Finnish operas such as Tapio Tuomela´s Mothers and Daughters, Lars Karlsson´s Rödhamn and Mikko Heiniö´s The Hour of the Serpent, all at the Finnish National Opera and Veli-Matti Puumala´s Anna Liisa during the Helsinki Festival 2008.
For the Turku2011- European Capital of Culture, Söderblom directed yet another big scale opera production, the world premiere of “Erik XIV” by the composer Mikko Heiniö and dramatist Juha Siltanen.
The series of Söderblom´s productions of Mozart´s operas continued during Helsinki Festival 2013 with Don Giovanni.
Among Söderblom´s recent works are the staging of J.S. Bach´s St John´s Passion with Helsinki Baroque Orchestra in November 2013: and a semi-concertante performance of Dmitri Shostakovitsh long forgotten opera parody Orango in August 2014 for Helsinki Festival. In August 2015 he presented as his artistic farewell production as director for Helsinki Festival a widely praised semi-staged performance of Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck.
Erik Söderblom´s role in Finnish theatre as an important pedagogue is worth mentioning. In the years 1998-2002 Söderblom was leading a famous music theatre class at Turku Polytechnic. From 2001 to 2009 he was a Professor of Acting at the Helsinki Theatre Academy. During the years 2005-2009 he also worked as vice rector for this university.
Söderblom was CEO and the Artistic Director of Helsinki Festival (www.helsinkifestival.fi) from 2009 up to August 2015. During his leadership the festival developed to become not only one of the most outstanding festivals of Europe, but with its 300.000 annual visitors also the biggest art festival in the Nordic countries. In September 2015 he left his position at the festival to focus on his own artistic work.
In 2016 Söderblom was invited to become a member of the Artistic Committee at Tampere Theatre Festival, the most prominent performing arts festival in Finland.
Erik Söderblom is a member of the European House for Culture since 2016.
Since August 2017, he has been working as the Artistic Director of Espoo City Theatre.
In 2018 Erik Söderblom was made a “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government.