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Clarion Seven Muses - Kurt Nikkanen

Kurt Nikkanen

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Nicholas Curry


Biography of Kurt Nikkanen

Kurt Nikkanen

"Kurt Nikkanen is a splendid choice for the soloist of the concerto. This American is one of the most accomplished violin players of contemporary music worldwide and he plays with a beautiful and clear sound making it evident that this is music - not just new music."
Rondo, February 2010

American violinist KURT NIKKANEN is an international soloist of the highest order. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he began his violin studies at the age of three, later studying with Roman Totenberg and Jens Ellerman. At twelve he gave his Carnegie Hall debut, performing with the New York Symphony; two years later he was invited by Zubin Mehta to perform the Paganini Concerto No.1 with the New York Philharmonic for a Young People's Concert. He studied with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School.

Mr. Nikkanen regularly receives invitations from the leading orchestras and presenters in the USA and Europe, and has toured Japan and the Far East. In North America he has appeared with the Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, and in Europe with the BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Dresden Staatskapelle. He has worked with many leading conductors.

An enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music, Kurt Nikkanen has given numerous performances of the John Adams Violin Concerto, with orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Oregon Symphony, Hallé Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony (all under the composer's direction). Other contemporary projects include Aaron Jay Kernis' Concerto for Violin & Guitar, which he performed at the 1998 Aspen Festival and HK Gruber's violin concerto Nebelsteinmusik, performed with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under the composer's direction. He gave the world premiere of John Zorn's Contes de Fées for violin & chamber orchestra, with the EOS Orchestra of New York.

Highlights of recent seasons have included a UK tour with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, performances with the Gothenburg Symphony and Neeme Jarvi at the BBC Proms, and concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Prague Symphony and RTE Orchestra in Dublin; also with the Bayerischer Rundfunk and Suddeutscher Rundfunk orchestras, both with Yakov Kreizberg, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with Junichi Hirokami. He has also appeared with the Belgian National Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony and the orchestra of RAI Turin, the Detroit Symphony and Orchestra of Galicia, the Bilbao Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic and performances of the Dvorak concerto with the Czech Philharmonic and Vladimir Ashkenazy, both in Prague and on tour in the USA, with concerts in New York and Chicago.<

Kurt Nikkanen has given recitals at Wigmore Hall and at Lincoln Center, performing "ViolinDances": a programme consisting of pieces composed upon or inspired by dance forms. With the National Chamber Orchestra of Washington, he recorded Steven R. Gerber's violin concerto, which was written for him, for Koch International. Mr Nikkanen performed the world premiere of Mikko Heinio’s ConcertoAlla Madre subsequently recording it for Sony Classical with the Turku Philharmonic under Petri Sakari and released in 2010. His live recording of William Walton's Violin Concerto with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra was released on the Nimbus Alliance label in 2010 and was chosen as "Critics Choice for 2010" in Gramophone Magazine.

Kurt Nikkanen gave the New York premiere of the Violin Concerto by Thomas Adès in May 2010.