Born in 1944, Leif Segerstam studied violin, piano, composition and conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, followed by post-graduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York under Morel, Persinger, Overton and Petsichetti.
Leif Segerstam began his conducting career in the opera houses of Helsinki, Stockholm and West Berlin, and early guest appearances took him to the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the major European opera houses including La Scala and Covent Garden.
Leif Segerstam was chief conductor of the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1975-82, and of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1977-87, with whom he maintains contact as principal guest conductor. From 1983-89 he served as general music director of the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany) and is still their honorary guest conductor. His operatic work has included appearances at the Wiener Staatsoper and the royal theatres of Copenhagen and Stockholm. From 1988-95 Segerstam was chief conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. For the 1995/96 season he has been appointed chief conductor and musical director at the Royal Opera in Stockholm and chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.