"The ability to think and feel on a concious level is what makes us humans differ from other species on earth." This is also what Finnish-Swedish Cecilia Damström tries to achieve with her compositions; to make people think and feel.
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Born in 1988 into a multicultural family in Helsinki, languages and the possibility of combining languages, have had a great influence on Damström's composing. With a background as a classical pianist and with an interest in theatre, harmony, direction and drama are always present. She describes her music as emotional and expressive.
Whatever she is writing, Cecilia Damström always wants to address topics important to herself. The orchestral work Tundo! was dedicated to all the refugees in the world, the orchestral piece Nixus to people with mental disorders, and her trilogy of quintets are inspired by the life stories of three strong Finnish women, Jean Sibelius wife Aino, the writer and first Finnish feminist Minna Canth, and the artist Helene Schjerfbeck.
Damström also uses her music to take a stand on environmental and climate issues, as in the choral work Requiem for Our Earth, the orchestral piece ICE (In Case of Emergency), and the children's opera The Animal's Planet, premiered at the Finnish National Opera in 2019.
She has even been called the Greta Thunberg of music.
In 2022 she was the first female classical composer to receive the Teosto Prize, one of the Nordic region's largest music prizes, for ICE (In Case of Emergency), an orchestral work that describes the melting polar ices in the times of climat changes.
Damström studied composition with Doctor Hannu Pohjannoro at Tampere University of Applied Sciences and at a master's level with Professor Luca Francesconi at the Malmö Academy of Music. Since graduating she has been working full time with commissions from various ensembles and festivals. Her broad catalogue of compositions includes orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, as well as three chamber operas.Her compositions have received several national and international composition prizes.
Cecilia Damström's music has been performed in all the Nordic countries as well as in Canada, USA, Germany, England, Spain and the Czech Republic, and is is frequently played at Finnish festivals as the Tampere Biennale, Time of Music, Tampering Festival, VocalEspoo and at the Kokonainen Festival, where she was composer in residence (2016-2020).
During 2021-2022 she was artist-in-residence at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany.