Jan Sandström was born in Vilhelmina on 25th of January 1954. He grew up in Stockholm. He studied counterpoint with Valdemar Söderblom 1974-1976 and school music at Luleå University of Technology Piteå School of Music 1976-1978. He then went to study composition with Gunnar Bucht, Brian Ferneyhough and Pär Lindgren at Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, 1980-1984, and music theory 1978-1982.
Sandström has been on the staff of the Luleå University of Technology /
School of Music in Piteå since 1982, teaching composition and music theory,1985-1989 employed as fifty-fifty composer/teacher, and from 1989 as professor in composition. He lived in Paris 1984-85.
Sandström has written music for various ensembles, for choir, opera, ballet and for radio theatre - but above all for orchestra, with or without soloist. His most famous works are Acintyas for string orchestra, Es ist ein ros for choir, and the two trombone concertos; Motorbike Concerto and Don Quixote. Since the first performance in 1990 the Motorbike Concerto has become Sweden's most frequently played work on the international scene.