Olli Leppäniemi, Clarinet


Olli Leppäniemi is one of the leading clarinetists of our time. His international soloist career was launched after winning the 1st Prize in the 2009 Carl Nielsen Clarinet Competition in Denmark. Leppäniemi is also considered one of the finest and most established orchestral clarinetists of his generation, having held three principal clarinet positions by the age of 29. He is a great favourite with the audiences.

Leppäniemi studied clarinet with Yehuda Gilad in Los Angeles, Hans-Christian Bræin in Oslo, and with Reijo Koskinen in the Sibelius-Academy. He also gives big importance in his first teacher, Jorma Lautanen in the Lappeenranta Music Institute, Finland.

Leppäniemi works as Principal Clarinetist in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Previously he has held Principal Clarinet positions both in Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway and in Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland. He has also been a member of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra where he held the principal e-flat clarinet position. Leppäniemi has appeared as a guest principal clarinet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Norwegian National Opera and Finnish National Opera among others.

In 2009 Leppäniemi was the first Finnish musician ever to have won the first prize in the prestigious Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition. He also received two special awards in the competition; the best interpretation of Danish music, and the Odense Symphony Orchestra prize. 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.Leppäniemi is also recipient to several award prizes, such as the 2010 Danish Music Critics Artist of The Year Award and the most recently awarded Finnish States Artist Grant for the year 2014.

Recently Leppäniemi has appeared with critical acclaim as soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Copenhagen Tivoli Symphony Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, including the Danish Premiere of John Coriglianos Clarinet Concerto.

Leppäniemi is devoted to playing chamber music and has appeared in several of the most important chamber music festivals, including the Risør Kammermusik, Lyckeby Festival, Chamber Music in Lake Tuusula, Oulu Music Festival, Murten Classics and Copenhagen Chamber Music Festival as well as the Crusell - Festival. He frequently plays chamber music with musicians such as Francoix Leleux, Jaques Zoon, Janne Saksala, Ilya Gringolts, Tatyana Masurenko, Severin von Eckardstein, Laurent Lefèvre, Trio Con Brio Copenhagen, Faure Quartet and the Danish String Quartet.

As a keen interpreter of contemporary music Leppäniemi has premiered concertos and other works works by Kimmo Hakola, Olli Kortekangas, Sampo Haapamäki and Aki Yli-Salomäki.

In addition to being one of the prominent clarinet performers of our time, Leppäniemi has made a long term commitment to music education as well. He currently serves as clarinet techer in Malmö, Sweden, as well as in Sibelius-Academy in Finland. Previously Leppäniemi has served in the faculty of the Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway. He has been invited to give masterclasses in the Crusell Festival in Finland, Vitoria Festival in Spain, Raudaskylä Woodwind and Brass Festival in Finland, the Royal Danish Music Academy, the Sibelius-Academy, University of Southern California and Nurmes Music Festival in Finland.

Most recently Leppäniemi has served in the jury for the Carl Nielsen Clarinet Competition in 2013, one of the biggest music competitions for clarinet worldwide, alongside with Yehuda Gilad, Sabine Meyer and Philippe Berrod.

Olli Leppäniemi is a Buffet Crampon artist, and Rico Reeds Artist.

Works for Clarinet and Orchestra

Aaron Copland

Clarinet Concerto

Aki Yli-Salomäki

Clarinet Concerto

Bernhard Henrik Crusell

Clarinet Concertos No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 1
Clarinet Concertos No. 2 in F minor, Op. 5
Clarinet Concertos No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 11
Clarinet Concertos, Introduction et Air Suédois Varié, Op. 12

Carl Maria von Weber

Clarinet Concerto no. 1 in F Major, Op 73
Clarinet Concerto no. 2 in E flat Major, Op. 74

Carl Nielsen

Clarinet Concerto Op. 57

Claude Debussy

Premiére Rhapsodie

Franz Krommer

Clarinet Concerto in E flat Major, Op. 36

Gioacchino Rossini

Introduction, Theme and Variations

Johann Stamitz

Clarinet Concerto in B flat Major

John Corigliano

Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra

Karl Stamitz

Clarinet Concerto no. 3 in B flat Major
Clarinet Concerto no. 10 in B flat Major
Clarinet Concerto no. 11 in E flat Major

Karol Kurpinski

Clarinet Concerto in B Major

Luciano Berio

J. Brahms Sonata in F minor, Op. 120/2 orchestrated by Luciano Berio

Luigi Bassi

Fantasy of Themes from Rigoletto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622
Clarinet With Piano

Anders Koppel


Camille Saint-Saëns

Clarinet Sonata in A flat Major Op. 167

Carl Maria von Weber

Grand Duo Concertante, Op. 48

Claude Debussy

Premiére Rhapsodie

Edison Denisov

Sonata for clarinet solo

Einojuhani Rautavaara

Sonetto, Op. 53

Elliot Carter


Felix Mendelssohn

Clarinet Sonata in E flat Major

Francis Poulenc

Clarinet Sonata Op. 184

Igor Stravinsky

3 pieces for clarinet solo

Jesper Koch


Johannes Brahms

Clarinet Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 120/1
Clarinet Sonata in F minor Op. 120/2

Leonard Bernstein

Clarinet Sonata

Luciano Berio

Sequenza IX

Matthew Arnold

Sonatina Op. 29
Fantasy, Op. 87

Max Reger

Clarinet Sonatas No. 1 in A minor, Op. 37
Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in F Major Op. 38
Clarinet Sonata No. 3 in B flat Major Op. 107

Nino Rota

Clarinet Sonata in E major

Paul Hindemith

Clarinet Sonata

Rezso Kokai

Four Hungarian Dances

Robert Schumann

Fantasiestücke op. 73
Drei Romanzen Op. 94

Uljas Pulkkis


Vassily Lobanov

Clarinet Sonata Op. 45
Nielsen Clarinet Concerto
Fri, 2010-01-22
"...Leppäniemi was truly at his best while describing the most painfully, sweet and sensitive passages...The night felt special, the hall was sold out to the last seat...Leppäniemi took the listener on an imaginary trip somewhere in Denmark, so vivid were his images of nature with its storms and calms and birds, as well as folkloristic dances. ...Leppäniemi is superior in his playing, the technical passages are spot on perfect, and he can diminuendo in the most virtuoso way to such a pianissimo that it just feels like silk to ones ears... Rauni Mali
Brutal Beauty
Sat, 2010-02-13
The Mahler Symphony no. 7 emanates brutal beauty. ...A musician like Olli Leppäniemi who has been principal clarinettist since September, impressed constantly with new approaches and angles....
Breathtaking Virtuosity
Satakunnan Kansa, Pori, Finland
Sat, 2010-01-30
"The theme of the concert, "Young conqurer of the world", obviously referred to soon thirty year old Olli Leppäniemi, and his art on the clarinet. Young talent is often emphasized in concert advertisemens, but this time there felt to be special substance to the theme of the concert. In my opinion Olli Leppäniemi could, with his interpretation of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, take the breath away from the listener anywhere in the world. This time the people of Pori had the honor to enjoy Leppäniemi's sophisticated playing. The pure beauty of the lines in the concerto came out as never before. Leppäniemi's articulation and variations in nuances and tempi were extremely sensitive and stylish. His strong technique enabled even the longest pianissimo passages to be played with a most beautiful colour of the sound. In this performance one noticed also the exceptionally beautiful finishes of long notes. Describing technical details does not do full justice to Leppäniemi's art. This clarinettist is a musical talent, whose playing speaks to you from beginning to end. He trusts that the nobility of the piece of music comes through without added effects. Mozart's Clarinet Concerto is often played so the fast movements feel empty and meaningless. Now in this performance there was no hint of such emptiness. The Pori Sinfonietta obviously enjoyed its fine soloist". Juha-Pekka Peltonen
Rachmaninov 2 Symphony
The Chicago Tribune
Sat, 2010-04-24
The slow movement, its clarinet solo meltingly taken by guest principal Olli Leppaniemi, was the pivot point for a reading that gloried in muscular brass, singing strings and a scherzo and finale that dazzled with their flat-out orchestral brilliance.
Sun Times
Sat, 2010-04-24
.........Young Finnish clarinetist, Olli Leppaniemi, principal in the Danish National Symphony, played the Adagio’s solos beautifully..............
Sun, 2010-04-11
....The tone language in Holst's Planets is quite advanced. Often the musicians play in several different keys at the same time, and the various wind soloists bid in with often wildly fabulating contributions, in particular by the new Finnish principal clarinettist, who is a tremendous asset for the orchestra.... Valdemar Lønsted
The Arts Desk
Tue, 2010-08-10
In the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto canzonetta.'here the woodwind, especially the free-and-easy principal clarinettist Olli Leppäniemi, were equal stars, and led us with a magical chorale into a fast and furious folk-finale'. David Nice
Press Service

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius

Photo: Johannes Wilenius