Markus Hallikainen (1987) is a finnish cellist who is known of a very versatile career. He has performed widely in Finland and abroad as a soloist, and a chamber musician.

He started playing cello at the age of five as a student of Helli Seppä. 1997 - 2002 he studied in Espoo Music Institute under Heikki Pekkarinen and Heikki Rautasalo. In 2002 he continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy Youth Department with Hannu Kiiski and in 2007 he was accepted into the Soloistic Department. Markus graduated from Bachelors Degree under prof. Arto Noras in 2013 and after that he continued his studies with prof. Martti Rousi. In 2015 Markus had an opportunity to continue his studies at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste with prof. Raphael Wallfisch. Markus graduated and received the distinguished Soloist Diploma in 2017.

Markus has participated in many masterclasses of leading cellists. Among those are Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Ivan Monighetti, Antonio Meneses, Frans Helmersson, David Geringas ja Robert Cohen. He has also studied chamber music with such as Kopelman Quartet, Auer Quartet, Jess trio, Jean-Louis Capezzali and Isabel Charissius. Markus has studied regularly also with Marko Ylönen, Eckart Heiligers, Paavo Pohjola and Martti Rautio.

Markus was the finalist of Turku 2014 Cello Competition and received also 2nd prize at ZHdK Contemporary music competition in 2015. For 2016-2017 Markus received the full Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. Markus has also been supported by all major Finnish foundations. Honorary mentions and other support he has received from such as Rotary Foundation, Espoo Music Institute, Sibelius-Academy, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and For Young Musicians Foundation.

 As a soloist Markus has performed with Turku Philharmonic Orchestra (Finland), Kuopio City Orchestrra (Finland), Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic) and many other smaller chamber orchestras in Finland. As a chamber musician Markus has performed at festivals such as Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (USA), Amsterdam CelloBienale (Netherlands),  Encounter of Music and Academy of Santander (Spain), Mendelssohn Festival (Germany), Time of Music Festival (Finland), Naantali Music Festival and in Sysmä Suvisoitto. He has also perfomed widely in other smaller festivals and events in Finland, Europe, the Usa and Russia.

Markus has worked in many orchestras in Finland (Helsinki Philharmonic and Radio Symphony Orchestra). He has also worked as a solo cellist  in Vaasa City Orchestra, as a guest section leader in Tampere Philharmonic and a 3rd solo cellist in Turku Philharmonic. In addition he has appeared as a solo cellist in many projects in Finland and abroad.

Contemporary music has played a big part in his life, already since early years. He has given many first performances also. Markus has co-operated with many composers  and performers and has had guidance from such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Shih, Lars Mlekusch and Anssi Karttunen. Markus has also studied barock cello with Martin Zeller in Zürich. Versatility also comes out in working with the music of other cultures and styles. Markus has been involved in many different projects and has been active in arranging music.

Markus is the founder and the artistic director of Varkauden KesäKlassinen (Varkaus SummerClassical). KesäKlassinen is the first festival of classical music in the city of Varkaus. Since 2017 It has gained popularity and respect in the region.. Festival has raised a lot of media attention and there has appered international artists such as Raphael Wallfisch. Also many first performances have been given. In 2018 the festival had an honor to deliver the Finnish Premiere of Weinberg Cello Concertino.

Markus is excited about the producing and business side of music. He has been working in that area since 2017 and has been co-operating with many companies. Through his work as an artistic director he also has experience in artist management and giving presentations. Markus has represented his festival in many occasions and is working together with many cultural operators. In addition to his festival, he has been involved in planning many projects through out his career.

Teaching is an important part of his career. At the moment he teaches at Keski-Helsingin Musiikkiopisto (Middle Helsinki Music Institute). During the years Markus has encouraged and taught many students of all ages. He has also done research about the meaning of mental images and parables in cello pedagogy.

 Markus plays on a fine instrument by J. Derazey 1875.