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Aarre Merikanto

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameAarre•Merikanto
Used nameAarre•Merikanto
Born29 June 1893 in Helsinki (FIN)
Died29 September 1958 in Helsinki (FIN)
NOC Finland


Aarre Merikanto was a Finnish composer and academy teacher. His father Frans Oskar was also a well-known composer. Aarre studied composition at the Music Institute in Helsinki, then with Max Reger in Leipzig and in Moscow. In 1936 he started teaching at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he became head of the composition department in 1951, a position he held until his death. Like his father, he used themes from Finnish folklore for his works of national romanticism, but some of his early works also show Russian and French influences. From 1920 on, his style opened to modern influences to the limit of tonality, before returning to a neoclassical style in 1933. In 1952, he composed the Olympic fanfare. Hellaan laakeri (Laurel of Hellas) from 1947 is a hymn for mixed choir and orchestra. It is a six-minute-long musical version of Aale Tynni’s gold medal-winning poem.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Art Competitions FIN Aarre Merikanto
Music, Vocals, Open (Olympic) AC