In English

Heli Hartikainen is a Helsinki based saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and performing artist whose training and interests lie in experimental free improvisation and multidisciplinary art. The connection between sounds, visuals and movement is one of her most important sources of inspiration so working with dance and performance has always been especially dear to her. Hartikainen boldly combines archaic shepheard melodies to the expressiveness of free jazz resulting in distinctive soundscapes from ambient to avantgarde.

Hartikainen performs both solo and in ensembles and works as an instrument teacher and a studio musician. 

Hartikainen has studied classical clarinet playing and jazz saxophone and is currently finishing her master’s degree in the folk music department of the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts, Helsinki. Within her folk music studies Hartikainen has especially researched the ancient styles of improvisation and the aesthetics of repetitiveness. Hartikainen is also keen on experimental usage of live electronics; in her master’s project she examines resonance and overtones in the means of electroacoustic improvisation. The concert, an experiment on the concepts of sound installation and ambient music gig,  will take place in Black Box of Musiikkitalo, Helsinki during spring 2022.

Hartikainen is also known for her art folk ensemble Aoide


Pietari Purovaara_Keksi_Aoide_PROMO

Aoide uses both archaic and modern instruments to bring traditional Finnish melodies to the present day and via improvisation forms music that is at the same time ancient and new, soft and fierce, still and constantly evolving. In summer 2018 in Kaustinen Folk Music Festival Aoide won a nationwide ’Konsta Jylhä competition’ held by the Finnish Folk Music Institute and was greatly acclaimed for their incomparable musicianship, deep understanding of Finnish archaic music and passionate performances. Record company Helmi Levyt released Aoide’s debut album in November 2020. 

Heli Hartikainen – woodwinds
Minttu Hellstén – voice
Jenni Venäläinen – kantele
Essi Hirvonen – double bass

pic: Pietari Purovaara


Tanssiteatteri Auraco:

Hartikainen has worked as a musician and performer in Dance Theatre Auracos pieces ‘Tuntu’ (2017) and ‘Miksi Mix’ (2020). In ‘Miksi Mix’ Hartikainen also worked as a composer and sound designer.


Since 2018 Hartikainen has worked as a “fire saxophonist” in Maria Baric Company and Fire theatre Tulikansa.

pic: Sampsa Kares

Peloton collective:
Dance Like A MoFo


Aoide – I (Helmi Levyt 2020)

Passionate, minimalistic, improvisational art folk that has its roots in the finno-ugric music traditions

Sibelius Academy Folk Big Band – Katrilli toisesta elämästä (Siba Records 2019)

Finnish folk orchestra of 40 musicians with fiddles, kanteles, accordions, harmoniums, guitars, percussions, winds and vocals

Museum of Impossible Forms – thinking sound (Impossible Reader 2019)

Thinking Sound is the first edition of the Impossible Reader – a biennial publication in the form of vinyl record. 11 artists respond to the curatorial vision of ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now‘ and perform a series of manifestos on Improvisation, experimentation, Music and Sound as Art.

Project Vainiolla Ensemble – Suruvesi (Vainiolla Sounds 2018)

Project Vainiolla Ensemble’s debut album Suruvesi is an exploration of possibilities of laments and a prepared piano. The laments – also called poetry of eternal parting and final passing – are mixed with instruments, both acoustic and electronic, and improvised soundscapes that were recorded in the fields and forests.


pics: Mikko Malmivaara

pic: Roosa Oksaharju
pic: Pietari Purovaara


Gig requests and questions about instrument lessons


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