Leevi Antti Madetoja (17.2. 1887 Oulu – 6.10. 1947 Helsinki) was a Finnish composer, conductor, writer, and teacher. He has a central position in Finnish music after Jean Sibelius as perhaps the finest late romantic of his generation.
Leevi Madetoja was born in Oulu, Finland. He studied at the Conservatory in Helsinki (now Sibelius Academy) and at the University of Helsinki from 1906 to 1910 with Armas Järnefelt, Erik Furuhjelm and Jean Sibelius, as well as in Paris and Vienna. Madetoja belonged to the student’s club of Ostrobothnia, in whose activities he got to know the composer Toivo Kuula, became friends with the poet Eino Leino and met his future wife, the poet L. Onerva. They were married since 1913, although Leino was for a long time the third wheel in their relationship. Madetoja died in Helsinki in 1947, aged 60.
Madetoja’s music has a clear Finnish melancholic undertone, but on the other hand it has a French-like sophistication and even elegance. In addition to choral music, he composed orchestral works (incl. 3 symphonies), 2 operas, ballet, chamber music, cantatas and solo songs. Madetoja also worked as a conductor in Vyborg, as a music critic for the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and as a music teacher at the University of Helsinki.
Nearly all of his male choir works has been written for the first Finnish speaking choir YL Male Voice Choir.
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