Janne Ikonen (b. 1975) is from Lieksa, Finland. As Lieksa is the host town of the world-renowned Lieksa Brass Week, his experience of brass and wind music started at a very young age. He began his musical career as the Lieksa Youth Wind Orchestra’s second euphonium player. He later switched to tuba and finally to percussion. His experiences with the LNPO and the Pielisen-Karelian music school were influential in the production of many of his youth wind orchestra compositions. Many of his compositions are created for youth orchestras, and his output for aspiring young bands is especially prolific. His featured piece, Shipman's Song gives young and accomplished bassoonists a chance to showcase their talents (and their instrument, which is usually not played by elementary school instrumentalists) to young musicians in the wind band. In addition, Ikonen arranged an alternative solo part for B-flat treble clef baritone horn, an instrument popular in Finnish brass septets and European brass bands.
Mr. Ikonen studied classical composing at the Sibelius Academy as a student of Erkki Jokinen and is currently finishing his master studies in music education at the University of Jyväskylä. In 2003 he graduated as a percussion player at the Conservatory of Central Finland, and in 2015 he graduated as a percussion teacher at Savonia University of Applied Sciences.
Mr. Ikonen was the conductor of the Jyväskylä University Symphony Orchestra from 1997-2000, the conductor of Ala-Keitele grand symphony orchestra from 1998-2000, the associate conductor of the Puhkupillit wind band from 1995-1998, and has worked as a guest conductor and clinician for several wind orchestras, including the Jyväskylä city orchestra, the Jyväskylä chamber orchestra, the wind band of the Finnish Air Force, and the Academic Brass Band. He currently is the conductor of Mikkeli Winds and the Rantasalmi Wind Band.
Mr. Ikonen has lived and worked in Rantasalmi, Finland, since 2003. He has instructed and directed several orchestras and ensembles and has worked as a percussion studio teacher in multiple schools and music institutes. His wife, Marja Ikonen, is a well-known composer, conductor, and educator, and their three children all play wind instruments.
Mr. Ikonen has played percussion in various symphony orchestras (e.g. the Finnish Philharmonic Orchestras of Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Oulu, Joensuu, Lappeenranta, and Mikkeli) and in several military bands. He worked as the sub-principal percussionist (sergeant) in the Military Band of St. Michel and is performing regularly with ensembles across Finland. During the last few years, Ikonen has been sought after as a performer and clinician in Estonia and Latvia.
Ikonen’s music was first premiered in 1996, and his first feature concert occurred at the 2003 Lieksa Brass Week. His works were first performed in the U.S. in 2012, during concerts in Lake Placid and Plattsburgh, NY. His music was also featured in concerts across Finland in 2013 and 2017. Most of his 200 works are composed for wind bands and chamber ensembles. Additionally, he has composed three concertos, three musicals, and many arrangements for different ensembles.
His works have been recorded by several wind ensembles in Finland. Two of his compositions have been filmed as a music video and can be found on Youtube.
Stephen Mitton is a full-time music teacher in Phoenix, Arizona and co-founder of Leading Tones Music, LLC.