Merikanto, (Frans) Oskar

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Merikanto, (Frans) Oskar

Merikanto, (Frans) Oskar, Finnish composer, conductor, and organist, father of Aarre Merikanto; b. Helsinki, Aug. 5, 1868; d. Hausjärvi-Oiti, Feb. 17, 1924. After preliminary study in his native city, he studied at the Leipzig Cons. (1887–88) and in Berlin (1890–91). Returning to Finland, he became organist of St. John’s Church, and from 1911 to 1922 was conductor of the National Opera in Helsinki. He wrote manuals for organ playing. He wrote the first opera in Finnish, Pohjan Neiti (The Maid of the North; 1899; Vyborg, June 18, 1908), as well as the operas Elinan surma (Elina’s Death; Helsinki, Nov. 17, 1910) and Regina von Emmeritz (Helsinki, Jan. 30, 1920). Other works include various instrumental pieces, organ works, and numerous songs, many of which became popular in his homeland.


Y. Suomalainen, O. M. (Helsinki, 1950); S. Heikinheimo,O. M. ja hanen aikansa (Helsingissä, 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire