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Mikko Hassinen

drummer/ conductor/ composer/ arranger/ producer

Mikko Hassinen (b. 1971) is so much more than a drummer: he composes acoustic and electronic music and works as a conductor and a producer of classical and jazz music. Hassinen started his music studies at the Music school of Kainuu with percussions and continued later his studies at the Pop/jazz Conservatory of Oulunkylä. He spent three months in U.S. on the course of the New York's Drummer' Collective and was soon after the course accepted to the jazz department of Sibelius Acedemy in 1994. The drum classes of Jukkis Uotila and jazzmusic studies were though replaced by the composition and music theory studies in 2000. While studying Hassinen played in many bands of his fellow students, for example in Riitta Paakki trio. Other important groups were the trio of Pepa Päivinen, born in 1998, and Raoul Björkenheim's Triad that worked actively for a couple of years in the beginning of the 21st century.

Hassinen has for a long time leaded his own groups that have mainly performed his compositions. In 1996 the name of his group, comprising from Hassinen's fellow students, was Argus and a couple of years later it was called Mikko Hassinen Band where played also a bit older musicians, like saxophonist Sonny Heinilä. On the 21st century the name of the drummer's band has been Muuntaja, that played at first electrojazz but later changed into more acoustic jazz. At the same time Hassinen had also an electronic rhythm music studioproject Damodara where played Finnish top-notch jazzmusicians from Raoul Björkenheim to Jukkis Uotila and Jukka Eskola.

As a jazzdrummer Hassinen recorded for the first time on saxophonist Jari Perkiömäki's album Shades in 1997. On the albums of Riitta Paakki Trio and Pepa Päivinen Trio/Quartet Hassinen has been playing since the beginning of the 21st century. In ten years Hassinen has had time to record on over 30 albums of e.g. Eero Koivistoinen, singers Vesa-Matti Loiri and Maarit Hurmerinta and younger generation's rhythm musicians Jimi Tenor and Ninni Poijärvi. 

UMO Jazz Orchestra has for a long time been an important part of Hassinen's music career. He played in the Young Soloists Concert in 1994 and has featured the orchestra regularly even since, also as an accompanist for the international visitors. As the conductor of the orchestra Hassinen worked for the first time in the Young Soloists Concert in 2003. He hasn't studied conducting anywhere, the skills have grown behind the drum set by following and imitating the different conductors and studying the scores. In 2006 Hassinen conducted UMO on Raoul Björkenheim's album The Sky Is Ruby. He has also done lots of compositions and arrangements for UMO and other big bands and orchestras. Besides ensemble and big band productions, Hassinen has composed music for solopiano and different chamber music groups and dance productions. In 2009 Hassinen won the Esko Linnavalli Composition Contest with his work Karhunvartija.

Hassinen's career as a producer expanded outside the Damodara-project in 2001 when he produced the album Reset by Lenni-Kalle Taipale Trio & Friends. Hassinen has also produced two albums for UMO, Counting the Count and Sauna palaa!. Recently he has produced also classical music, for example for the Zagros Ensemble and Kirmo Lintinen.