Born: March 24, 1973
Samuli Mikkonen is an emerging name in the European jazz scene. In his sound one can hear elements of jazz, Finnish as well as other ethnic musics, and some undercurrents of 20th century classical. However, there is always a unifying artistic vision beyond the details.
Mikkonen first appeared in the top jazz bands of his home country Finland in the mid-90's, and has since worked home and abroad, with a growing list of collaborators and different projects.
Mikkonen has led a Scandinavian trio consisting of him, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Audun Kleive. He has played sideman gigs for Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, Mike Gibbs and Wayne Krantz. In Finland, he has been the pianist of choice for world jazz outfit Piirpauke and jazz/improvising artists Sonny Heinila, Sakari Kukko, Mika Myllari, Pekka Pylkkanen, Jouni Jarvela and Jorma Tapio.
He has released 3 CD's of his own, and plays on some 15 others.
Besides most European countries, Mikkonen has toured in Argentina, Chile, Peru, China, South Korea, Japan and USA. Performance venues include premier European clubs such as Copenhagen Jazz House and festivals home and overseas: Jarasum Jazz Festival, Beijing Jazz Festival, IAJE and others. His concerts have been broadcast by BBC, YLE, Sveriges Radio, Danmarks Radio.
Mikkonen has been awarded several times by by Arts Council of Finland. He also received the Pro Musica award in Finland in 1999. He has a post as a senior lecturer of pop and jazz music in Oulu University of Applied Science.
As a composer, Samuli Mikkonen has written for his own hand-picked ensemble '7 Henkea', as well as jazz ensembles ranging from duos and trios to a big band. Commissioned pieces include 5 pieces for big band, works for small jazz/classical hybrid ensembles and music for theatre and TV.
Improvising on the piano since the age of 3, Mikkonen has expanded his sound palette by taking extensive studies of both jazz music and classical composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In the late 90's, he had a period of strong interest in electroacoustic music. For the past few years, he has been more and more inspired by different folk musics, from his own Fenno-Ugrian roots through Middle East and Chinese modal improvisations to the diversity of grooves in West Africa and Brazil.