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 Heikki Nikula

Heikki Nikula


The Finnish bass clarinetist and clarinetist Heikki Nikula (b. 1961 in Seinäjoki) graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 1987. His teachers were Sven Lavela and Reino Simola. Nikula has also studied privately with Kálmán Berkes, Hans-Rudolf Stalder and Harry Sparnaay.
Nikula is a member as a bass clarinet player at Helsinki Filharmonia since 1991. He has also played in Avanti! chamber orchestra throughout its history, from 1983 on. Nikula performs frequently as a chamber musician and soloist. He has given an own recital in several festivals, for example Helsinki Biennale, Tampere Biennale, Viitasaari Time of Music, Kallio-Kuninkala Festival and Tulkinnanvaraista Helsinki. Recent performances include a concert of Avanti! at Carnegie Hall in 2011, where he played as soloist. Nikula teaches bass clarinet permanently at the Sibelius Academy, and has also given master classes in Rotterdam and Uusikaupunki Crusell Festival.
Nikula's repertoire consists of contemporary music as well as the classical works. He has premiered dozens of new compositions - solo, chamber and orchestral music. These premiers include works from composers like Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Eero Hämeenniemi, Jouni Kaipainen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka Tiensuu, Kimmo Hakola, Aulis Sallinen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Tapio Tuomela, Timo Hietala, Markus Fagerudd, Sampo Haapamäki, Kirmo Lintinen, Juhani Nuorvala, Jovanka Trbojevic, Lotta Wennäkoski and Veli-Matti Puumala. Nikula has also commissioned several new works for bass clarinet.
Improvisation is also an important part of Nikula's work. He is one of the founding members of Free Okapi, an improvisation ensemble of contemporary music. Their latest release, Lieke, came out in 2012. Nikula also improvises in other groups like Frio and Eero Hämeenniemi's Nada.
Heikki Nikula has recorded two solo bass clarinet CDs. Hoepnadium was published in 1996 and Piping Down the Valleys Wild in 2003.

"I have started to play with Selmer as early as 1976, in the age of 15. It just feels mine. The bass clarinet fits like a glove to my hands, and I also like its rich sound."