Sulho Ranta (1901-1960) studied composition in Helsinki with Erkki Melartin in 1921–24 and continued his studies in Berlin, Vienna, Italy and Paris. Back in Finland he was active as a theatre conductor, teacher and music critic, also writing and editing textbooks on the theory and history of music. From 1936 to 1956 he was vice-rector of the Sibelius Academy.

As a composer Ranta was one of the first to introduce such trends as Impressionism, Expressionism and the use of exotic materials into Finland – in his own work he was inspired by the music of China, Japan and various Finnish regions. His most creative period was in the 1930s and 40s, and he is best known for his songs and chamber pieces.