Skip to page content

Kari Kriikku

About this Artist

“..a physically flamboyant player of Olympian virtuosity…”

The New York Times

“Afterward, there was a surprised buzz in the auditorium as listeners confessed to loving a sometimes furiously dissonant piece” [NY Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert/Carnegie Hall/Magnus Lindberg concer-to]. As reported in the New Yorker it is not an uncommon occurrence for this consumate artist to bring his audience to its’ feet, even if the repertoire, or Kriikku himself, is being heard for the first time.

A champion of contemporary music Unsuk Chin wrote a concerto for Kari Kriikku which he has premiered with Gothenberg Orchestra under the baton of Kent Nagano both in Gothenberg and Stockholm’s Konserthuset in Spring 2014. Premiere performances continue in 2014/15 season including the USA premiere with New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, WDR Cologne Or-chestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Barcelona and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.

In 2014/15 after a return to the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, Kriikku is guest soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw with Olari Elts and he performs Saariaho’s “D’OM LE VRAI SENS” with Tokyo Metropolitan Sym-phony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard, marking the Asian premiere of this work. A familiar figure in London, he joins colleagues for chamber music at the Wigmore Hall.

Kaija Saariaho’s “D’OM LE VRAI SENS”, a concerto which during the working process Kari Krrikku collaborated with the American theatre director Peter Sellars, has also received great acclaim. It was premiered with Finnish Radio Symphony/Sakari Oramo, BBC Symphony Or-chestra/David Robertson, both the Swedish Radio Symphony and Orquestra Nacional do Por-to/John Storgårds, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Esa-Pekka Salonen, and with the Vienna Symphony Radio Orchestra/Cornelius Meister. Kriikku has further performed the work with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski, Bergen Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena and given its’ USA premiere with the New World Symphony Orchestra/Susanna Malki. During 2013/14 season Kriikku performed the work with Tampere Orchestra in the inaugural concerts of the orchestra’s new Music Director, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and “debuted” the work in Helsin-ki’s new Music Centre hall with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Dima Slobodeniouk. An-other effective collaboration was SWR Baden Baden with Francois-xavier Roth.

Highlights of other new works Kriikku has premiered include Kimmo Hakola’s colourful, mesmer-ising concerto under the baton of Semyon Bychkov (WDR Koln and La Scala, Milan), Lindberg’s concerto with a spectacular premiere at London’s 2007 BBC Proms Festival with the BBC Sym-phony and Bychkov. Kriikku has recorded all these works for Ondine including Jukka Tiensuu’s “Missa” with the Helsinki Philharmonic and John Storgårds. Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto re-cording was nominated in the 2006 Gramophone Awards and the new Saariaho work with Finn-ish Radio Symphony and Sakari Oramo won the Jury’s Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013.

Kari Kriikku’s musical inventiveness and fresh attitude towards traditional performance have established for him a fascinating and versatile career, not only as a soloist but also as Artistic Director of Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, all of which in June 2009 was further acknowledged as Kari Kriikku was announced recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize.