Tikanmäki was born
in 1955, into a farming family of five children at Haapajärvi
in Finland. While at school, he took piano lessons and, inspired by the
rock bands of the sixties, practised the guitar. During his last few
years at school he played in dance and rock bands, touring the open-air
summer dance pavilions of Northern Finland.
Entering the Sibelius Academy in 1974,
Tikanmäki qualified as a music teacher six years later. While
at the Academy, he got caught up in the folk music revival and training
launched by Martti Pokela and attended courses at the
Oulunkylä Pop/Jazz Conservatory directed by Klaus
In 1977, with fellow students Reijo Karvonen and
Esa-Markku Juutilainen, Tikanmäki formed the Ikaros ensemble.
Also playing in the band were Peter Lerche and Upi Sorvali. Ikaros
represented Finland at the Intervision Song Contest at Sopot in 1978.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Tikanmäki
composed the orchestral suite "Finnish Landscapes" (Maisemakuvia
Suomesta). This was premiered in November 1980 at a concert by Ikaros
and the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jorma Panula.
"Landscapes" was also recorded for television and released on disc in
Around the beginning of the 1980s
Tikanmäki was a freelance composer and musician in ensembles
with such artists as Hector, Arto Sotavalta and Taiska, and in Young
Lovers. During that decade he arranged music for recording by Veikko
Lavi, Harri Saksala and others and was the keyboards player, arranger
and main producer for Juice Leskinen's Grand Slam.
Anssi Tikanmäki got to know film directors Mika
and Aki Kaurismäki and the following year began
collaborating with them. It was he who composed the music for the film
"The Worthless" (1982). This was followed by "The Clan" (1984) and a
number of other films directed by Mika Kaurismäki.
Tikanmäki has also composed the music for feature films by
other Finnish directors and for a number of old silent films. His
biggest film project to date has been the score for the silent film
"Juha" directed by Aki Kaurismäki (1999).
Since 1986 Tikanmäki has been the
conductor of the Anssi Tikanmäki Filmorchestra specialising
in the accompaniment of silent films. The Filmorchestra has toured the
main Finnish towns and made numerous appearances in the other Nordic
countries, other parts of Europe and Japan.
Over the past decade or so Tikanmäki has
also been composing for the theatre, providing music and sound effects
for, among others, the Kalle Holmberg productions (in Finnish) of "The
Road to Tampere" (Tie Tampereelle, 1996), "The Unknown Soldier"
(Tuntematon Sotilas, 1997) and "The Long Day's Journey into the Night"
(Pitkän päivän matka
yöhön, 1998). His most recent theatre production is
the musical "Here under the North Star"
(Täällä Pohjantähden alla) for the
Hämeenlinna City Theatre (2002).
In addition to music for stage and screen,
Tikanmäki has composed for church organ and released a disc of
three chiefly instrumental works for large orchestra: the "Finnish
Landscapes" already mentioned, "Old Photographs" (Vanhat Valokuvat,
1984) and "Pizza" (1994). Anssi Tikanmäki's "A Traditional Pop
Record" (Perinteinen Pop-levy, 2001) is a record of pop-rock songs sung
in Finnish with Sakari Kuosmanen and Tarja Turunen.
In 2002 Anssi Tikanmäki Orchestra
took action. Since that ATO has been performing in different festivals,
concerts and clubs. The orchestra plays Tikanmäki´s
Tikanmäki´s most recent release is the album "Anthems" (2012).
In 2013 the legendary singer-songwriter Donovan invited Anssi Tikanmäki Orchestra to accompany him in his tour in Spain and Ireland.
In 2014 Anssi Tikanmäki composed together with Eljas and Eemil Tikanmäki music for Mika Kaurismäki´s epoque film "The Girl King". The film is an interational production, and the star actors are Malin Buska, Mikael Nyqvist, Sarah Gadon, Francois Arnaud and Marianne Gedeck. Tittle song of the film is sung by Johanna Rusanen-Kartano.