Biography

 
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Kasperi Sarikoski was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1988 and grew up as the oldest of seven sons of Tero and Caroline Sarikoski. Blessed with a natural gift for music Kasperi began playing the valve trombone at the age of eight and in the autumn of 1996 started taking lessons from Romanian trombonist Mircea Stan at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki. During his time at the conservatory Kasperi switched to the slide trombone and played in both big band and small group settings under the guidance of Veli-Matti Halkosalmi and Junnu Kataja. He also studied music theory with Antti Saukko and Pasi Heikkilä and piano playing with Reijo Anttila. In 2000 Kasperi and his younger brother Jonatan, who plays drums, were selected for the Finnish All Star Junior Big Band lead by trombonist Antti Rissanen. With the big band Kasperi took part in several Imatra Big Band Festival summer jazz camps as well as the Lieksa Brass Week big band course. Teachers at the camps included Antti Rissanen, Markku Veijonsuo, Ingrid Jensen, Charles Tolliver, Bill Watrous, Dick Oats and Rich Shemaria. Kasperi also took part in a series of trombone workshops led by Antti Rissanen and by the time he was in his teens had begun composing his own music.

In 2003 Kasperi joined the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department’s Junior Academy, where he studied under Markus Ketola, Jukka Perko and Manuel Dunkel. Three years later Kasperi began his graduate studies at the academy and received his Bachelor of Music degree in 2009. During 2010 and 2011 he studied at the Conservatoire de Paris as an exchange student. Teachers at the conservatory included Glenn Ferris, Hervé Sellin, François Théberge and Dré Pallemaerts. Kasperi returned to Helsinki in 2012 and completed his Master of Music degree in 2013. During his entire time at the Sibelius Academy Kasperi studied with numerous teachers, including Jukkis Uotila, Kari “Sonny” Heinilä, Jarmo Savolainen, Teppo Alestalo, Jouni Järvelä, Mikael Jakobsson, Miikka Huttunen, Mikko Innanen and Mikko Hassinen. Kasperi also took up singing for a few years and took lessons from Mirja Mäkelä, Ritva-Liisa Matilainen and Susanna Lukkarinen.

While studying music Kasperi gained a reputation as a fine trombonist and became increasingly employed in the Helsinki music scene. By the time he had finished his Master’s degree he was well established in the Finnish jazz scene, having performed and recorded with numerous leading domestic musicians. He had also played with saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Dave Liebman as well as drummer Peter Erskine in concerts organised by the Sibelius Academy. In 2009 the Finnish composer Valtteri Pöyhönen put together the Ricky-Tick Big Band and asked Kasperi to be the lead trombonist. The band soon became hugely popular and since then has performed at numerous prestigious festivals all over Finland as well as released three albums.

Kasperi played with the UMO Jazz Orchestra for the first time in 2004 and ten years later took up the post of lead trombone. He spent three years with the band during which he accompanied many eminent artists, such as Joshua Redman, Gregory Porter, Michel Legrand, Hermeto Pascoal and Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

Kasperi formed his own group Nuance in 2013. The quintet has played at many of Finland's major jazz venues, including the prestigious Tampere Jazz Happening, the Pori Jazz Festival and the Turku Jazz Festival. In 2015 the group released its debut album Essence which was approved by the public and critics alike. The following year the group set out on a tour which encompassed eight music venues all over Finland.

In August 2017 Kasperi moved to New York City to study at The Juilliard School. He is currently enrolled in the Artist Diploma in Jazz Studies, a two year performance-based program at the post-graduate level.