”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.” – Rondo Classic Magazine
Sebastian Hilli (b. 1990) is a Finnish composer of orchestral, chamber and vocal music. Born in Helsinki, he studied composition with Lauri Kilpiö and prof. Veli-Matti Puumala in Sibelius-Academy and with prof. Michael Jarrell in Vienna.
Hilli’s works have in common the composer’s fascination with structure, dynamism and carefully crafted details. Throughout, his music is characterized by complex woven textures and nuanced sonorities, long-span processes and a flair for extra-musical topics.
Fascinated by the intensity of music as the focal point of his musical thinking, his works always emerge from the question of how to achieve this in various ways. Hilli accomplishes this in both extremes – in energetic textures moving in fast pace and in quiet and concentrated moments. The wide range of characters in his works demonstrate the composer’s emotional and expressional versatility and speak of his curiosity of always seeking for new ways of expression.
Since graduating in 2016, Hilli has worked as a full-time freelance composer and quickly garnered international acclaim and recognition by winning several of the most prestigious prizes for young composers such as the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award in 2015, the ’Composers under 30′ category at the 64th International Rostrum of Composers in 2017 and the Gaudeamus Award 2018.
Hilli’s most recent orchestral piece Snap Music, commissioned and premiered by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Hannu Lintu was recently nominated for the 2019 Teosto Prize, one of the biggest art prizes in the Nordic Countries.
In recent seasons Hilli’s music has been featured at festivals and concerts in Finland and abroad including Musica nova Helsinki Festival, Time of Music Festival, Lucerne Piano Festival and Gaudeamus Muziekweek and performed by ensembles such as Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, ensemble recherche, Bozzini Quartet, New European Ensemble, Insomnio Ensemble, Slagverk den Haag, Uusinta Ensemble, Norbotten NEO, Nicolas Hodges and Petri Kumela amongst others.
Hilli’s largest work so far is the 45-minute commission for Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and a 250-member choir, Affekt (2017), where ”both the treatment of the orchestra and the synthesis of styles appeared to be astonishingly original”, described HBL Magazine after the premier.
Upcoming projects include e.g. commissions for Uusinta Ensemble, Gaudeamus Muziekweek and Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the Finnish Chamber Orchestra.
Currently Hilli works as a freelancer with a 1-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Master’s degree in Composition
University of Arts, Sibelius-Academy
with prof. Veli-Matti Puumala
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst
with prof. Michael Jarrell
Bachelor’s degree in composition
University of Arts, Sibelius-Academy
with Lauri Kilpiö
2019 Nominated for the Teosto Prize
2018 Winner of the Gaudeamus Award
2017 Winner of the ’Composers under 30’ category at the 64th International Rostrum of Composers
2015 Winner of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (JP), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FI), Helsinki Philharmonic (FI), Ensemble Recherche (DE), Quatuor Bozzini (CA), Slagwerk den Haag (NL), Insomnio Ensemble (NL), New European Ensemble (NL), Avanti! (FI), Uusinta ensemble (FI), International ensemble modern academy (DE), Arktinen Hysteria (FI), Zagros Ensemble (FI), Curious Chamber Players (SE), Ensemble Mise-en (US), Ensemble Reconsil (AUT), Esbjerg Ensemble (DK), Cikada Ensemble (NO), Kamus Quartet (FI), Sed Contra ensemble (UA), Nyky ensemble (FI), UNM Orchestra (DK), Siggi string quartet (IS), Petri Kumela (FI), Nicolas Hodges (UK).
New work for chamber orchestra
Commissioned by Jukka-Pekka Saraste & Finnish Chamber Orchestra
New work for large ensemble
Commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek
New work for microtonal guitar
Commissioned by Petri Kumela