Olli Leppäniemi, Clarinet
Olli Leppäniemi was born 1980 in Finland. He first began playing clarinet in Lappeenranta Music Institute, where his first teacher was Jorma Lautanen. He continued his studies in Sibelius-Academy with Reijo Koskinen, and graduated as Master of Music in 2008 with highest distinction. In addition Leppäniemi studied clarinet with Hans-Christian Braein in Oslo, and in Los Angeles with Yehuda Gilad.
Olli Leppäniemi works as principal clarinet in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, DR. Previously he has been principal clarinet both in Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and in Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Earlier he was a member of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra. Leppäniemi has also appeared as a guest principal clarinet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra among others.
In 2009 Leppäniemi became historically the first Finnish musician ever to have won the first prize in the prestigious international Carl Nielsen - competition. He is also the first Scandinavian ever to win the clarinet category. He also received two special awards in the competition; the best interpretation of Danish music, and the Odense Symphony Orchestras prize. The fact that Leppäniemi reached victory despite being forced to play the competition with instruments borrowed in the last minute attracted particular attention during the competition. Leppäniemi was unlucky to have his own clarinets stolen from the train on his way to the competition site. In addition to the Nielsen competition Leppäniemi has been a prize winner in the international Prague Spring - clarinet competition, in the international Verdi Note - competition in Italy, as well as the Lahti National wind instrument competition in Finland.
Recently Leppäniemi appeared as soloist with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Copenhagen Tivoli Symphony Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, including the Danish premiere of John Coriglianos Clarinet Concerto. Near future engagements include engagements as soloist with the Helsinki Filharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, re-invitations to the Lappeenranta Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and performing string orchestra version of the Brahms Quintet with the Jousia Ensemble in Oulu Music Festival, as well as serving as a jury member in the 5th International Carl Nielsen Competition in Denmark.
Leppäniemi has appeared in several of the most important chamber music festivals, including the Risör, Lyckeby, Tuusulanjärvi, Murten and Copenhagen festivals. As a keen modern music interpreter Leppäniemi has premiered works by Kimmo Hakola, Olli Kortekangas, Sampo Haapamäki and Aki Yli-Salomäki.
Having a long time commitment to musical education as well, Leppäniemi has been appointed as clarinet lecturer in Malmö Music Academy, and also instructs clarinet and orchestral studies in the Sibelius-Academy. Previously Leppäniemi has served in the faculty of the Grieg Academy in Norway.
Olli Leppäniemi is a Buffet Crampon clarinet artist; and Rico Reed artist.