Snap Music nominated for the 2019 Teosto Prize

Sebastian Hilli’s orchestral piece Snap Music is nominated for the 2019 Teosto Prize, one of the biggest art prizes in the Nordic Countries. The Teosto Prize is awarded to bold, original and innovative works. If the prize is awarded for a single musical work or piece, the prize is EUR 25,000. If the prize is awarded for multiple works, the maximum prize sum is EUR 40,000.

The jury said about Snap Music:
”In his work, Hilli paints an astonishingly accurate picture of our time – turbocharged, faster than its own voice and prone to bloating with too much information – that grates on our power of observation. The composition skillfully dances on the edge of chaos, absorbing energy and inspiration from it.”



Premiere of Butterfly Curve available for listening for 30 days

Butterfly Curve was premiered by Norrbotten NEO and conducted by Aaron Holloway-Nahum in Piteå, Sweden on February 4th. The piece was commissioned by International Music Council and Swedish Radio after Sebastian Hilli’s Reachings for orchestra was chosen as the selected work in the ’Composers under 30’ category at the 64th International Rostrum of Composers in 2017. The premiere of Butterfly Curve was broadcasted live by Swedish Radio P2, Yle Radio 1 (Finland) and Klassikaraadio (Estonia). The recording of the premiere is available for listening for 30 days:



Rondo review of the premiere of Snap Music written by Santeri Kaipiainen

Translation: ”Snap Music demonstrated why Lintu and FRSO are considered a brilliant contemporary music team – and why Hilli has been poured with praise and honor. Already the first minutes built up a multi-layered, rich work. Psychological snapping, the straw that broke the camel’s back or ”flipping”, according to modern-day anglicism, was the dramaturgical-emotional backbone of the work, which was transmitted not only in its arc, but also in subtle, even subconscious archaic affects, concentration-absorbing thrilling atmosphere and repeated motives fleeting precise perception. The fight between order and chaos was high-level orchestration and astonishing knowledge of sonorities and extended playing techniques.”



Helsingin Sanomat review of the premiere of Snap Music written by Sonja Saarikoski

Translation: ”[…] The end result was convincing. I hope that Snap Music will not end up like many other new works: that they are performed once and forgotten.

Snap Music has a clear direction that moves forward through fragments. Rhythmically, it is skillful, and the FRSO made this well audible.

Hilli has said he listens to free jazz and at the end of the piece, the wind section resembled a big band. However, at the first hearing, the most impressive was the beginning of the work, related to the description of the loss of psychological control and the subsequent emptiness: a chaotic flicker, then a silent string mat with occasional slams and clicks. An identifiable mindset. […]

The talk of absolute music should have been stopped long ago. Music can – and it must – talk about the world as well. Hilli talked. About music, through music and outside the music.”



Premiere of Snap Music for orchestra available for worldwide listening

Premiere of Snap Music, performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hannu Lintu at the FRSO Independence Day Gala Concert available for worldwide listening.



Article in the Amadeus Magazine by Gianluigi Mattietti

”Un nuovo compositore si aggira per l’Europa. Un compositore da seguire con grande attenzione […] ”

Translation: ”A new composer is wandering around Europe. A composer to be followed with great care […]



Sebastian Hilli is the winner of the Gaudeamus Award 2018

Sebastian Hilli won the Gaudeamus Award 2018 on Sunday 9 September at the end of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2018. Hilli joins the ranks of lauded earlier winners including Peter Schat, Michel van der Aa and Louis Andriessen.

The jury – consisting of composers Mayke Nas, Nicole Lizée and Richard Ayres – said about Hilli: “Sebastian Hilli has a very personal aesthetic that is underlying all of his music, and he possesses the technical knowledge and imagination to realize what he is driven to create. His music combines bold structures with a huge variety of subtle sonic detail.” 

Hilli was chosen as a winner out of 336 works submitted from 43 countries around the world.



HBL review of composer portrait concert written by Wilhelm Kvist

Translation: ”What perhaps makes Hilli more interesting than many other composers is that his music virtually lacks the artificial sweetness, which nowadays destroys music as much as yogurt. Hilli’s music, on the other hand, gives a lot of chewing resistance, and in it flourishes an ambitious desire for experimenting in a unprejudiced context. […]

Hilli’s music may be rougher than many of the colleagues and in the most fierce parts he can sound almost mechanical (for example, in Paraphrase II built on Coltranes Giant Steps). In his finest moments he is particularly sophisticated, especially in all the quietest nuances. What became clear to me now, after hearing the chamber music from the past five years, is what an exquisite touch Hilli has for sound colors and how much effort he has put into finding them.”



Rondo Classic review of composer portrait concert written by Auli Särkiö-Pitkänen

Translation: ”Hilli has a distinctive voice and the ability to convincingly follow it. He enjoys staying at the edge of strength and fragility and moves music in a sophisticated but at the same time relaxed manner. He’s compositional style is tightly attached to the continuum of modernism with its complex textures and extended playing techniques but at the same time Hilli isn’t afraid to compose descriptive music that progresses in broad arcs. This is a fascinating combination.”



Sebastian Hilli is one of the three finalists in the Christoph Delz Foundation’s 7th Composition Competition

The 7th Composition Competition of the Christoph Delz Foundation is held in collaboration with the Lucerne Festival. The jury consisting of Nicolas Hodges, Lisa Streich, Marco Stroppa, Michel Roth (Christoph Delz Foundation) and Mark Sattler (Lucerne Festival) selected three finalists whose commissioned solo piano pieces will be premiered by Nicolas Hodges at the Lucerne Piano Festival 2018 in Switzerland on 24th November. The prize winner will be decided after the new works have received their premieres in the concert.



Article and composer video on the Gaudeamus website

[…] While Hilli’s music is very technical and virtuoso, the sounding result isn’t difficult per se. It is rather quite direct. Or better, Hilli tries to convey something purely musical, something that touches the listener, but isn’t quite clear: “When I started composing I was mostly interested in the part that I couldn’t describe. Where is this music coming from, and the ideas? These are little things that draw me towards music. That still fascinates me, those musical gestures that create an atmosphere with a character of mysticism.”



Premiere of new orchestral work Snap Music at the FRSO Independence Day Gala Concert

The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra will premiere Snap Music, commissioned by the Finnish Radio Broadcasting Company Yle, at the 6th of December 2018 Independence Day Gala Concert, conducted by Hannu Lintu. The concert will be broadcasted by Yle.



Sebastian Hilli nominated for the Gaudeamus Award 2018

The Gaudeamus Award is a talent award for young composers under the age of 30. Since the prize was first awarded in 1957, it has established itself internationally as a highly sought after and renowned award for young music pioneers. From over 336 scores from 43 different countries, Sebastian Hilli is one of the six nominated composers for the prestigious award. Three of his works, including a new commission, will be featured at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2018 in Utrecht, Netherlands.



Premiere of Affekt available for worldwide listening for 30 days:

Video recording of the premiere of Affekt for large choir and orchestra performed by Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam and the choirs of Helsingfors sång- och musikförbund is now available for worldwide viewing for 30 days.



Huvudstadsbladet review of Affekt premiere written by Mats Liljeroos

Translation: ”Hilli clearly has something big and exciting going on: a movement towards, as it seems, unexplored domains that tickle curiosity vigorously […]

Ultimately, it is about whether the composer had something important to say and if they were able to say that in a personal way. The final proved to be the case with Hilli’s 45-minute, nine-movement work for choir and orchestra, Affekt, where both the treatment of the orchestra and the synthesis of styles appeared to be astonishingly original. Hilli blends together influences from here and there in an unprejudiced manner and the aesthetics are neither distinctly modernist nor traditional 



Huvudstadsbladet article and video interview about upcoming Affekt premiere written by Wilhelm Kvist

Något stort äger troligtvis rum på Musikhuset på fredag. 250 körsångare uruppför då Sebastian Hillis nyskrivna Affekt 

Translation: ”Something big is probably taking place at Helsinki Music Center on Friday. 250 choir singers premiere Sebastian Hilli’s newly written Affekt 



Elogio de la sombra broadcasted by Yle Radio 1:

Recording of Elogio de la sombra from the Time of Music -festival in Viitasaari, Finland is now available for worldwide listening for 30 days. Performed by Bozzini Quartet, presented in the radio programme Ajassa soi by Yle Radio 1.



Sebastian Hilli’s Composer portrait broadcasted by Yle Radio 1

Recording of Sebastian Hilli’s Composer portrait from the Time of Music -festival in Viitasaari, Finland is now available for worldwide listening for 30 days. The recording includes the premiere of Hilli’s guitar concerto confluence/divergence performed by Petri Kumela and Uusinta Ensemble and Paraphrase II – ”Giant steps and eden acid” performed by Uusinta Ensemble. The pieces were conducted by Jósef Hárs.



Interview in Keskisuomalainen by Santeri Kaipiainen:













Reachings wins the 64th International Rostrum of Composers 2017

Reachings for orchestra (2014) was the selected work in the ”Composers under 30” category in the 64th International Rostrum of Composers. The 2017 Rostrum, held in Palermo from May 15 to 19, gathered representatives from 29 national radio networks from four continents.



Reachings presented in the International Rostrum of Composers 2017

The performance of Reachings by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the presented works representing the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in the 64th International Rostrum of Composers. The Rostrum will take place in Palermo, Italy from 15 to 19 May 2017.



Finnish premiere of Reachings performed by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musica nova Helsinki festival

Watch the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor André de Ridder perform Reachings for orchestra at the opening concert of Musica nova Helsinki festival.



Elogio de la sombra selected to the UNM festival in Reykjavík 2017

Elogio de la sombra for string quartet was selected by the Finnish selection to be performed at the UNM festival in Reykjavík in 2017.

A total number of 83 works were sent in by 50 composers in the call for scores.



Spotlight article in Music Finland by Wif Stenger:

”Sebastian Hilli and Sauli Zinovjev: emotions in two different aesthetics”

Award-winning young composers Sebastian Hilli and Sauli Zinovjev unveil new works at the opening of Helsinki’s Musica nova Helsinki festival in February. While their musical styles are starkly different, the two are close friends who share a similar creative vision 



Interview in Rondo Classical Magazine by Justus Pitkänen:

”Intensiivinen selittämätön”

Nelikymmenminuuttinen teos 500 laulajan suurkuorolle ja Helsingin kaupunginorkesterille – kuka tällaisia sävellystilauksia enää saa? Sebastian Hilli (s.1990) sai. Nousevalta säveltäjältä esitetään helmikuussa Helsingin Musica Nova -festivaalilla puolestaan kansainvälisen Tōru Takemitsu -sävellyskilpailun voittanut orkesteriteos Reachings 



Article in Musica Nova festival blog by Auli Särkiö:

”Virrassa eläen”

Nykytaide on jatkuvassa muutostilassa. Taiteenlajit kurottuvat yli rajojensa, eikä musiikkikaan enää välttämättä ilmene nuottiviivaston pisteistä muodostuvina teoksina. Miten säveltäjä navigoi virtauksissa?



Elogio de la sombra presented in Aikamme suomalaista musiikkia:

Elogio de la sombra for string quartet, presented in the radio programme Aikamme suomalaista musiikkia

by Yle Radio 1.



Parapharase III – Soave dolore broadcasted by Yle Radio 1:

Broadcast of the performance of Paraphrase III for windquintet premiered at the Crusell Music Fesival by

Arktinen Hysteria.



Review of Parapharase III – Soave dolore in HBL:

Review of the performance at the Crusell Music Festival of Paraphrase III premiered by

Arktinen Hysteria.



Interview with Sebastian Hilli in HBL:

Näyttökuva 2016-05-27 kello 19.33.41










Finnish premiere of Reachings at the Musica nova festival 2017

The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra will perform the finnish premiere of the award-winning piece Reachings for orchestra at the Musica nova Helsinki festival in February 2017. The piece will be conducted by the artistic director of the festival, conductor André de Ridder.



Helsingfors sång- och musikförbund commissions a large work for choirs and orchestra

To celebrate its 100-year anniversary HSMF commissions a large work for choirs and orchestra from Sebastian Hilli. The commission is for several choirs with up to 250 singers and large orchestra. The work will be premiered in Helsinki Music Center the 20th of October in 2017 by Helsinki philharmonic orchestra and the members of the 17 choirs from HSMF conducted by Leif Segerstam.



The premiere of Elogio de la sombra live broadcasted by Yle Radio 1

The premiere of Elogio de la sombra for string quartet will be performed by the Kamus quartet at Kaustinen Chamber Music Week.

The concert will be broadcasted live by Yle Radio 1 the 28th of January at 19.03.



Reachings for orchestra selected to the UNM festival in Aarhus 2016

Reachings for orchestra was selected by the Finnish selection to be performed at the UNM festival in Aarhus in 2016.

A record number of 56 artists participated in the call for scores, with a total of 83 works



An interview with Sebastian Hilli in the Finnish Music Quarterly:

”Reaching for a composer’s career” by Merja Hottinen

hilli-640x496 (1)








”Being a freelance composer is much like being an entrepreneur
– for one thing, your career development is entirely in your own hands. 
You cannot wait and expect someone else to do it for you,”
says composer Sebastian Hilli 



Sebastian Hilli wins the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award

Sebastian Hilli has won the first prize at the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Hilli’s work Reachings for orchestra shared the first prize with Yiğit Kolat’s piece  [difeKãs] for orchestra. The winners of the competition were chosen by composer Kaija Saariaho. The final concert was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra on May 31 which was also the premiere for Hilli’s winning composition. Reachings was originally chosen of 151 entries from 44 countries to the finals of the competition by the judge Saariaho.

Kaija Saariaho stated about the composition:

”Reachings struck me by its determined sense of formal plan and its realization. The music is directional, yet surprising. An intense concentration is carrying the music through the work. The music has an urge to advance, but it is done under a control so that the musical energy is well balanced, and the music breathes naturally.The range of different musical characters is large and emotionally fulfilling. The fresh quality of music reaches the very end of the piece. The orchestration is effective throughout and the score enjoyable to read in its clarity.”
Read more about the competition here:

Thomas Wally, Yiğit Kolat, Kaija Saariaho, Sebastian Hilli, Fabià Santcovsky photo © Michiharu Okubo

Thomas Wally, Yiğit Kolat, Kaija Saariaho, Sebastian Hilli, Fabià Santcovsky
photo © Michiharu Okubo

















Sebastian Hilli’s work Reachings chosen to the finals of Toru Takemitsu Compostion Award 2015

Reachings for orchestra was chosen of 151 entries from 44 countries to the finals of Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2015

by the judge Kaija Saariaho.

The final concert:

15:00, Sun. 31 May, 2015
Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall: Takemitsu Memorial

Kazumasa Watanabe, conductor
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra