Leevi Madetoja (1887 – 1947), who gave his name to the International Male Voice Choir Competition, composed some of the most beloved Finnish choir pieces. His oeuvre includes a vast selection of instrumental music like operas, theatre music, symphonies and chamber and piano music, but his merit is especially his choral work. Of his approximately 100 choral pieces about 40 is composed for male choirs. Madetoja’s style is national romantic and he was influenced by Finnish folk songs but also French music, which he explored while studying in Paris in early 20th century.
Leevi Antti Madetoja was born in Oulu in 1887 to modest conditions. He studied in Oulu and already at school he was singing in the school choir, was a conductor of a choir and studied independently the violin and the piano, while his main instrument was kantele. Madetoja finished his studies in Oulu in 1906 and moved to Helsinki. 1906-1910 he studied composing in Helsinki with Jean Sibelius and Armas Järnefelt as his teachers, among others. In addition to studying in Paris, he made trips to Berlin and Vienna.
As well as a composer, Madetoja was a conductor, teacher, music critic and chairman of Teosto, the Finnish performance rights organization. He was married to poet L. Onerva from 1913 until his death in 1947.
See a complete list of Madetoja's songs for male voice choir as a Spotify-list: Leevi Madetoja - Songs for Male Voice Choir