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5 August 1868|
17 February 1924 (aged 55)|
He was the son of Frans Ferdinand Kanto from Jalasjärvi, Southern Ostrobothnia. Frans got a Swedish-language surname, Mattsson, when he joined the Finnish army. He changed the name in 1882. Meri means "sea" and refers to his voyage from Vaasa to Helsinki; Kanto refers to his origins from the estate Kanto.
He was notable for his variety of talents – he gave concerts all around Finland, performing on the piano and organ, conducting orchestras, and composing original music. Some of his most beloved compositions are Där björkarna susa, and the waltz Kesäillan valssi (Summernight's Waltz).
Merikanto's style reminded Finnish folk songs, but it had its basis in Italian bel canto.
His son Aarre Merikanto is one of the most notable Finnish composers.
- Romanssi, Op. 12
- Pohjan neiti (Maiden of the North) (1898)
- Nälkämaan laulu (The Song of the Hungry) (1911)
- various pieces for organ, including "Wedding Hymn"
He wrote vocal music in German, Swedish and Finnish. It includes
- Rote Blumen
- An den Frühling / Keväälle
- Ström' leise / Oi, tyynny, sa virta
- Wehmut / Alakuloisuus
- Till Dig
- Ma Elän
- Rukous (Ave Maria)
- Pai, pai, paitaressu
- Piano Pieces 1: Suomalaisia Kansanlauluja 1. Vihko
- Piano Pieces 4: Suomalaisia Kansanlauluja 4. Vihko
- Piano Pieces 5: Suomalaisia Kansanlauluja 5. Vihko
- Seppo Heikinheimo, Aarre Merikanto. Säveltäjäkohtalo itsenäisessä Suomessa. 1985
- Finnland Institut Archived 8 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- Lappalainen, Seija. "Merikanto, Oskar (1868 - 1924)" (in Finnish).
- Free scores by Oskar Merikanto at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Streaming audio at the Gustavus Adolphus College Archives
- Video of Aura Go playing three piano pieces op.20 at her website