Ilmo Ranta has studied at Sibelius Academy. His teacher was Liisa Pohjola and he finalized his studies in 1984. Ranta has participated some master class-courses, too. Nowadays Ranta is lecturer of piano and chamber music at Sibelius Academy.
Ranta is very appreciated lied-pianist and has been worked with Karita Mattila, Monica Groop, Lilli Paasikivi, Jorma Hynninen, Topi Lehtipuu and Petteri Salomaa. He is interested in modern music, too, performing for example compositions of Jouni Kaipainen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Eero Hämeenniemi and Paavo Heininen.