Cecilia Zilliacus is one of Sweden’s most accomplished violinists, working across the Nordic countries and Europe. Her versatile repertoire of solo and chamber music works has led her to cooperate with a vast number of composers and orchestras. Her interest in newly written pieces and contemporary music has generated several compositions written specifically for her. During 2013 and 2014, has Cecilia Zilliacus together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Norrbotten NEO premiered violin concertos by Anders Nilsson and Fredrik Hedelin. In 2015 Cecilia will premiere a violin concert by Mika Pelo.
Zilliacus career took off in 1997, when she won both the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s prestigious competition, the Soloist Prize, and the Nordic Soloist Biennial in Trondheim, Norway. She was also named Artist in Residence at Swedish national radio for the year 1997/1998. In the 2001/2002 season, she was Sweden’s representative in the international Rising Star project, a cooperative venture between some of the world’s leading concert houses.
Zilliacus has recorded a number of albums, several of which have won Swedish Grammies. During 2014, Cecilia records 150th jubilee Carl Nielsen’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, as well as his solo works and sonatas. In 2015, Cecilia records music of Bach and Sven-David Sandström for BIS records.
From the summer of 2015 Cecilia Zilliacus is artistic director of Katrina Chamber Music Festival on Åland.
As a soloist, Cecilia Zilliacus has performed with most Swedish symphony orchestras as well as many Nordic and European orchestras, such as BBC Wales, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. Among the conductors she has worked with are Andrey Boreyko, Baldur Brönniman, Olari Elts, Eivind Gullberg-Jensen, Daniel Harding, Okko Kamu, Eri Klas, Susanna Mälkki, Joseph Swensen, Arvo Volmer and Benjamin Wallfisch.
Cecilia Zilliacus regularly performs with musicians and composers active on the international scene, such as Bengt Forsberg, Martin Fröst, Håvard Gimse, Philippe Graffin, Svante Henryson, Martti Rousi, Paavali Jumppanen, Christian Poltèra, Roland Pöntinen, Sven-David Sandström and Torleif Thedéen.
She is also a driving force in the prize-winning Swedish string trio ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen. Through the trio, Zilliacus plays an important part in bringing Nordic and European composers and musicians to Sweden as guests in the trio’s chamber music series at the Stockholm Concert House.
Cecilia Zilliacus was born in 1972 and lives in Stockholm with her husband and two children. She is an associate professor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Zilliacus’ violin is a N. Gagliano provided by the Järnåker Foundation.
“A Violin Concerto that has it all.
Cecilia Zilliacus lent her light yet firm hand to the enigmatic solo part of this Concerto. A beautiful reading and performance by one of our most gifted soloists”
(Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm; on H.W. Henze Violin Concerto No 3, Oct 2006)
“A very mature young soloist by the name of Cecilia Zilliacus, gave a clear and wonderfully well disposed reading of the Mozart A-Major Concerto under Alexander Lazarev. Soloist and conductor seemed perfectly united in the sense of sound and structure of the music.”
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
“This first performance was followed by Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the staggering Cecilia Zilliacus as soloist. She performed with a clean and pure tone that came close to the inner heart of this music. Her mature and reflective way of playing rendered the music an inner life that was extraordinary…”
Sibelius Violin Concerto (cond Michail Jurowski, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra)
“The really magnificent performance on this night came with Cecilia Zilliacus, when playing Sofia Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto, called Offertorium (from 1980). She was an intense and excellent interpreter of this demanding music, with its mystic, hymn-like, yet human qualities.”
Gubaidulina, Offertorium , Stockholm Philharmonic, cond Andrey Boreyko (2000).
“Cecilia Zilliacus took on the virtuoso solo part of the Mendelssohn e-minor Concerto. And she did it with a self exposing, very soulful interpretation. It was characterised by her elegance and light playing. Her presence seemed to enlighten this lyrical music from inside.”
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Swedish Chamber Orchestra (Örebro), cond Joseph Swensen
“Cecilia Zilliacus played the extremely difficult solo part of this Concerto with great authority. It contains everything, from genuinely traditional virtuoso passages to parts in more modern style with big glissandi and swelling vibrati. She should be grateful to have such a great work to play, and indeed, the composer should be grateful to have such a supreme interpreter of his piece.”
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Olari Elts; Mika Pelo – Violin Concerto. (2003)
“In Cecilia Zilliacus we have a violinist of international stature. She was the soloist in Beethoven´s wonderful Violin Concerto. She filled the hall and her instrument with a rich, colourful and expressive tone. She delivered a highly concentrated and deliberate interpretation of this piece. The solo cadenza in the first movement was a truly sparkling experience.”
Beethoven Violin Concerto, Karlstad Symphony Orch., Sweden (2006)
“The soloist Cecilia Zilliacus fascinated us with her performance, combining finesse and intensity. Her beautiful, almost romantic melodies in the Aria II, were given a refined and warm beauty in every note. The elegant changes between lightness and intensity in the Capriccio mouvement, were beautifully executed by Zilliacus. As it should be, with a real soloist, this was indeed an artistic statement and presentation, rather than merely a technical achievement.”
Cecilia Zilliacus, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic / cond Susanna Mälkki
27 & 29 May 2010 / Stockholm Concert Hall
Lars Hedblad / Svenska Dagbladet 30 May 2010