”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
 
 

About
Sebastian Hilli


Photo © Anna-Maria Viksten

Sebastian Hilli (b. 1990) is a Finnish composer and conductor.

Hilli’s music is characterized by a mixture of surprises, intuition and carefully constructed details and structure, an effort to capture distinct emotional states, and a curiosity of always seeking for new ways of expression. Hilli has been praised for his ”completely original, meaningful, fresh and, not least, thoroughly honest expression” (HBL).

In his works, Hilli draws inspiration from topics like human psychology, emotional states and experiences, poetry and other art forms. He combines influences ranging from baroque to pop music, romantic to free jazz and disco to renaissance, creating music where ”both the treatment of the orchestra and synthesis of styles appears to be astonishingly original” (HBL).

Hilli has quickly garnered international acclaim and recognition as a composer by winning several of the most prestigious prizes for young composers such as the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award in 2015 in Japan, the ’Composers under 30′ category at the 64th International Rostrum of Composers in 2017 in Italy and the Gaudeamus Award 2018 in the Netherlands. In 2019, Hilli’s orchestral piece Snap Music was awarded the Teosto Prize in Finland, one of the biggest art prizes in the Nordic Countries.

In recent seasons Hilli’s music has been commissioned and performed by insitutions and performers such as BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Finnish Chamber Orchestra, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Vaasa City Orchestra, Asko|Schönberg, ensemble recherche, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Bozzini Quartet, New European Ensemble, Insomnio Ensemble, Slagverk den Haag, Uusinta Ensemble, Norrbotten NEO, Nicolas Hodges, Anu Komsi, Petri Kumela and Janne Valkeajoki amongst others. Hilli’s music has been performed by conductors such as Ryan Bancroft, Hannu Lintu, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Anna-Maria Helsing, Bas Wiegers, Olari Elts, André de Ridder and Leif Segerstam.

Upcoming premieres include a violin concerto for Pekka Kuusisto, commissioned by Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, BBC Radio 3 and the National Arts Centre, a commission for organ, electronics and ensemble and a commission for string quartet.

Hilli holds a Master’s degree in Composition from Sibelius Academy and a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Hilli is a recipient of a working grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Hilli’s music is exclusively published by Schott Music.

Education

2021-2023
Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting
Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
Tallinn, Estonia
with prof. Arvo Volmer

2014-2016
Master’s degree in Composition
University of Arts, Sibelius-Academy
Helsinki, Finland
with prof. Veli-Matti Puumala

2013-2014
Composition Studies
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst
Wien, Austria
with prof. Michael Jarrell

2010-2013
Bachelor’s degree in composition
University of Arts, Sibelius-Academy
Helsinki, Finland
with Lauri Kilpiö


AWARDS

2019 Winner of 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
 

RECORDINGS

2020
Profile album confluence/divergence
Kairos Music
Uusinta Ensemble, Petri Kumela
cond. József Hárs


PERFORMERS

Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (JP), BBC National Orchestra of Wales (UK) , Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (SE), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FI), Helsinki Philharmonic (FI), Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FI), Tapiola Sinfonietta (FI), Finnish Chamber Orchestra (FI), Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra (FI), Vaasa City Orchestra (FI), Secession Orchestra (FR), Asko|Schönberg (NL), 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), Anu Komsi (FI), Petri Kumela (FI), Janne Valkeajoki (FI), Nicolas Hodges (UK), Ryan Bancroft (US), Hannu Lintu (FI), Jukka-Pekka Saraste (FI), Anna-Maria Helsing (FI), Bas Wiegers (NL), Olari Elts (EST), André de Ridder (DE), Leif Segerstam (FI), Clément Mao-Takacs (FR), Janne Nisonen (FI), József Hárs (FI/HU)

 

UPCOMING PREMIERES

21 MAY 2025
1977 – a Violin Concerto
written for Pekka Kuusisto