Visa Oscar (b. Visa-Pekka Mertanen, 1976) is a Finnish jazz musician, keyboardist, composer, producer, scholar, and educator. In addition to his band, he regularly plays in Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble and Binary Boys. As a multi-talented musician, he has worked extensively as a freelance composer, producer, and artist. Visa Oscar is finalizing his artistic doctoral degree in jazz music at the University of the Arts Helsinki, MuTri Doctoral School, Sibelius Academy jazz department.
University of the Arts Helsinki dept. of jazz music doctoral student Visa Oscar has worked for over twenty five years as a professional keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer. He leads his
own jazz-fusion band Visa Oscar and tours regularly with afro-beat/jazz influenced Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble. He is also the other half of electronica duo Binary Boyz.
During his career Visa Oscar has played keyboards in Sibis Alumni Big Band with John Scofield and Jim McNeely at the Helsinki Music Centre, written orchestral arrangements for pop bands like the Sunrise Avenue and co-composed two multimedia operas for Opera Skaala. He has worked with Finnish bands Ma Baker’s Soul Factory, Mistura Fina, Northern Lights Big Band, Oulunkylä Big Band, Waldo’s People, Maija Vilkkumaa and Taikapeili.
2013 his big band composition ”Balkan Express” received the third prize in the biannual Esko Linnavalli Composing Competition. Visa Oscar works regularly as a freelancer musician and arranger in Finland. He is an entrepreneur and a board member of three music and entertainment industry companies: Oscar Music Production Ltd Oy, Soundscape Painters Ltd Oy and EDUAmbience Oy.
He teaches as a hourly based teacher in the University of Arts Helsinki and in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and plays keyboards in Helsinki City Theatre musical production “Niin Kuin Taivaassa”.