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. In addition to his own ensemble Karikko he plays the piano and/or other keyboards in the jazz/folk ensemble Ahava, the electro-acoustic improvisation trio Gnomus, the art-pop/world/jazz trio SLO Motive, and jazz groups Mr Fonebone and Markus 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, Magnus Broo, André Fernandes, Gunnar Halle, Dayna Stephens, Poogie Bell, Eero Koivistoinen, Jukka Gustavsson, Otto Donner, Manuel Dunkel, Jukkis Uotila and Sonny Heinilä. Ikonen has performed in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and the USA. Ikonen’s playing and/or compositions can be heard on more than 20 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 teacher at the jazz departments of the Sibelius-Academy and at the Estonian Music Academy in Tallinn.
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