Ilmari Hannikainen (1892-1955) was a member of an influential Finnish music family. His father was a famous choral composer Pekka Juhani (P.J.) Hannikainen and his brothers were composer Väinö Hannikainen, violinist Arvo Hannikainen and conductor Tauno Hannikainen. Apart from being one of Finland's most established composers he was also a concert pianist during the first decades of the 1900s.
Ilmari Hannikainen studied at the University of Helsinki (1911–14) and continued his studies at the Musikakademie in Vienna as a pupil of Franz Schreker. He also studied under Alexander Siloti in St. Petersburg in 1915–17 and under Alfred Cortot in Paris in 1919.
After settling back to Finland Hannikainen taught piano at the Helsinki Conservatory. He was later appointed as Professor of Piano at the Sibelius Academy.
Ilmari Hannikainen's composition style made a journey from late Romanticism towards Impressionism. The bulk of his oeuvre is written for the piano (including a one piano concerto) but he composed also chamber music, an opera, lieder and film scores.
Fennica Gehrman publishes Hannikainen's solo works, chamber music, vocal works and his orchestral pieces, such as the Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor. The Piano Sonata C Minor Op. 1 completed in 1912 is one of the largest-scale romantic piano compositions in the Finnish piano repertoire. Among his other piano works are e.g. the charming Four-hand Pieces for Children Op. 31, Variations fantasques Op. 19 - one of Hannikainen's most important piano works with a duration of 25 minutes - and A la fontaine Op. 12/2 which is perhaps Hannikainen's best-known piece for piano.