Sebastian Fagerlund (b.1972) has established himself as one of the most prominent European composers of his generation. He studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki under the guidance of Erkki Jokinen and received his diploma in composition in 2004.
Important aspects of Fagerlund’s work are his interest in large-scale forms and a profound view of music expressing fundamental questions and existential experiences. Fagerlund was described in BBC Music Magazine as displaying ‘boundless technical resource at the service of a considerable imagination.’ A highly virtuosic instrumental feel and strong sense of musicianship is noticeable in all of his works, creating musical dramas in which powerful expression is combined with intensity and vivid communication, as well as an openness towards different musical traditions.
Works by Fagerlund have been commissioned and performed by numerous major orchestras, outstanding conductors and musicians all over the world. His output spans opera to chamber and solo works, the most significant pieces being his operas and works for orchestra. Performers of his works include the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and he has worked closely with conductors and musicians such as Dima Slobodeniouk, Anne Sofie von Otter, Edward Gardner, Hannu Lintu, Pekka Kuusisto, Sakari Oramo, Osmo Vänskä and John Storgårds. Fagerlund has been guest composer at numerous festivals around the world, such as Aspen Music Festival, Baltic Sea Festival and Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival.
In 2011 Fagerlund was awarded Finland’s renowned Teosto Prize, one of the largest music prizes in Scandinavia, for his orchestral work Ignite. The same year Ignite was also selected as a recommended work at the International Rostrum of Composers 2011 in Vienna. For 2016/17 Fagerlund was appointed Composer in Residence at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Holland. His opera Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) was premiered at the Finnish National Opera in the 2017/18 season to great critical acclaim with the Financial Times describing it as ‘Striking, Superb,’ and received its Swedish and Asian premieres in Malmo and Hong Kong in September and October 2019 respectively, before a second run in Helsinki.
In 2018 the recording of his Bassoon Concerto Mana received the BBC Music Magazine Awards in the Concerto Category. In February 2019, Fagerlund’s cello concerto, Nomade, premiered at the Elbphilharmonie with soloist Nicolas Altstaedt and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester conducted by Hannu Lintu.
Since 2013 Fagerlund has been artistic director of the RUSK Chamber Music Festival in Jakobstad, Finland. Fagerlund’s music is available on record label BIS.