Kari Ikonen (b.1973) has studied piano and composition at the Sibelius-Academy Jazz Department, from where he got a Master of Music degree in 2001. He has also studied at the Jyväskylä Music Institute and the Rotterdam Conservatory in Holland. His main instruments are piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano and analogue Moog synthesizer. In addition to his own ensemble Karikko he plays in the jazz-folk ensemble Ahava, the electro-acoustic improvisation trio Gnomus, the art-pop/world/jazz trio Slo Motive, and jazz groups Kolhoz andMarkus Holkko Quartet, performing frequently in Finland and abroad. He has performed with many internationally known musicians, such as Ingrid Jensen, Henry Lowther, Stan Sultzman, Ron McClure, Vincent Courtois, Nelson Faria, Rafael Barata, Magnus Broo, André Fernandes, Gunnar Halle, Dayna Stephens, Poogie Bell, Raoul Björkenheim, Eero Koivistoinen, Jukka Gustavsson, Otto Donner, Manuel Dunkel, Jukkis Uotila and Sonny Heinilä. Ikonen has performed in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Czech Republic, Armenia,  and the USA. Ikonen’s playing and/or compositions can be heard on more than 30 records.

Ikonen has composed a lot of music for different small groups and larger ensembles, e.g. UMO Jazz Orchestra and The Norwegian Radio Orchestra. In 2000 he won the first prize at the International Julius Hemphill Composition Awards (Jazz Composers Alliance, USA). His debut-cd ”Karikko”, consisting of his compositions for different ensembles, was chosen as the best Finnish jazz-cd of 2001 by the ”Jazz-Emma” prize (Finland’s Grammy) and in 2002 he won the first prize in the ”Scrivere in Jazz” big band composition contest in Italy.

Ikonen works as a part-time professor at the jazz departments of the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki and at the Estonian Music and Theatre Academy in Tallinn.

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Artist-in-residence February 2012