Heini Kärkkäinen studied piano at the Sibelius-Academy under Liisa Pohjola and continued her studies with Ralf Gothóni and Jacques Rouvier, among others. She won the Ilmari Hannikainen Piano Competition in 1984 and two years later she came second in the Maj Lind Piano Competition. In 1993 Kärkkäinen was nominated Young Artist of the Espoo International Piano Festival. She has performed as soloist with orchestras and in chamber music extensively in Europe and the U.S. She has given first performances of many contemporary Finnish works and has made several prizewinning recordings, including a disc of Saint-Saens named BBC Music Magazine's “disc of the month” and acclaimed by Gramophone Magazine. Heini Kärkkäinen is Principal Lecturer in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. She is also the Artistic director of the Tampere Chamber Music Festival.