Merikanto has not finished his school, he was convinced that he could better focus on composing music. His first opera at the age of 18 went in premiere. It was a disappointment, almost no one was interested. Merikanto destroyed it. The beginning of his musical career was otherwise good. His songs were popular. From 1912 to 1914 he verbeleef in Leipzig and got lessons from Max Reger. Reger was later seen as those who toe the line (still) somewhat Merikanto kept, otherwise he would have drifted to the more modern music. He then composed the music that veelvludig use of counterpoint fell through in good soil. That changed under the influence of his next teacher Sergei Vasilenko, who brought him from 1915 to 1918 more forced towards modern music. The public found that when not a good development. In the ' 20 years of the 20th century , the composer (according to the prevailing view) in extremes. He then wrote his works that were not carried out, to frustration of the composer. Same thing happened to Väiniö Raitio contemporaries Merikanto's and Ernest Pigoud. Merikanto's time would still come.
In the years ' 30 Merikanto returned back to calmer waters. He turned to the neo-classicism and that fell into better Earth. However, the public remained cautious with this composer. His reputation was just very good because in the 1920s and 1930s he was addicted to morphine. He came there be rid of it, but one remained the distrust.
In 1963 came Merikanto's musical "revenge". Until then was not a souped-up opera Juha success and is since then in the Finnish classical music seen as the example of the modern opera. Find there still performances of that opera takes place. That unlike other work of the composer, that on a single work after, completely forgotten shines.
In the past, investigations to the oeuvre of Merikanto, which strongly suspect has that one is not all his work above table has gotten.
- Juha (opera) (1922);
- The abduction or Kylliki (the Kalevala), (ballet);
- Symphony No. 1 (1916), Symphony No. 2 (1918), Symphony No. 3 (1953);
- 4 violin concertos (1916-1954);
- 2 cello concertos;
- 3 piano concertos
- Concerto for violin, clarinet, Horn and string sextet;
- partita for Woodwinds and harp;
- Choral works and folk songs.