born 1973, Korpilahti, Finland is a pianist and composer. After having studied piano for four years (1989-1993) in Jyväskylä Institute of Music, Kari Ikonen continued his studies in 1994 in piano and later in composition at the Jazz Music Department of Sibelius Academy, with such teachers as Jarmo Savolainen, Jukkis Uotila, Anders Jormin, Mike Gibbs, Sonny Heinilä and Olli Kortekangas. He also spent a semester of 1996 in Rotterdam Conservatory, where he studied with Rob van Kreevelt. He got his master's degree from Sibelius Academy in 2001.
He has performed with many different groups and musicians, for example Karikko (as a leader), Mr. Fonebone, Quartet Coyote, Ahava, Gnomus, Ingrid Jensen, Henry Lowther, Eero Koivistoinen, Jukkis Uotila, Sonny Heinilä etc. With these artists he has performed at many domestic and international festivals, including Pori Jazz, April Jazz, ITA Festival, Boulder, Colorado and Appleby Jazz Festival, England.
His compositions have been played by various small and large ensembles, such as UMO Jazz Orchestra (Finnish Radio Big Band), which has premiered several his compositions, including "Unia" (1997), "Nosreglo" (1998) and "Luoto" (2000). The last-mentioned won the first prize in the Jazz Orchestra category of the Jazz Composers Alliance/Julius Hemphill Composition Awards in USA, 2000 (he was also among the finalists in Small Group category). Another victory came in August 2002, when Ikonen's composition "Peikkola" (2002) won the first prize in "Scrivere in Jazz" competition in Sardegna, Italy.
He has also worked as a teacher (jazz piano, ensemble, solfege) in Jyväskylä Institute of Music 1993-94, Jyväskylä University music education program 1993 and Sibelius Academy Jazz Music Department since 1998.