Oskar Merikanto (1868-1924) was a composer and organist and father of Aarre Merikanto. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1887–88 and in Berlin in 1890–91. His activities in church music education and in initiating professional opera performances were of great importance in the development of Finnish musical life in the early 20th century. He also appeared as an opera conductor, as an excellent accompanist and as a virtuoso organist.
Oskar Merikanto was a National Romantic. He owed his wide popularity to his numerous piano miniatures and folk like solo songs which have become beloved classics and are still widely performed today. He was one of the first composers to set his songs to Finnish poetry. His Pohjan neiti (Maiden of the North, 1899) – Singspiel-like in character – was the first opera in Finnish.
Fennica Gehrman has published almost all of Oskar Merikanto's works ranging from solo piano and organ pieces to solo songs, choral music and orchestral music.