Aarre Merikanto biography

Aarre Merikanto

Composer

1893 – 1958

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Who was Aarre Merikanto?

Aarre Merikanto was a Finnish composer.

He was the son of Liisa Häyrynen and the famous romantic composer, professor Oskar Merikanto. His childhood he spent in Vilppula, Finland. From year 1919, he was married to Meri Grönmark. He is considered a key figure in early Finnish modernism and several of his works, most notably the opera Juha, have obtained posthumous attention. As professor of composition in the Sibelius Academy Merikanto taught several Finnish composers of the next generation, including Einojuhani Rautavaara, Usko Meriläinen, Aulis Sallinen and Paavo Heininen.

He studied music in Helsinki 1911, Leipzig 1912–1914 and Moscow 1916–1917. Merikanto's early style was rooted in Finnish romanticism, but in the 1920s he developed a personal, atonal but not dodecaphonic Modernist style. The reception of Merikanto's works of this period was mixed: the "Schott" Concerto for nine instruments was awarded in a competition organized by the German publishers Schott & Söhne, but his domestic Finnish audiences and critics were generally unenthusiastic and his opera Juha, today considered one of his major works, was never performed during Merikanto's lifetime. Disappointed with the reactions, starting in the early 1930s, Merikanto gradually abandoned his more radical style and turned towards a more traditional idiom based on Neoclassicism. He also destroyed or mutilated the scores of several works from his earlier style period, some of which were later reconstructed by his composition student Paavo Heininen.

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Born
Jun 29, 1893
Helsinki
Also known as
  • Merikanto, Aarre
Parents
Nationality
  • Finland
Profession
Lived in
  • Helsinki
Died
Sep 29, 1958
Helsinki

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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