Duo (2018)

Sebastian Black is an NZ / British musician who was born in 1996 in Colchester, UK.


His music has been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, the BBC, Mahler Foundation for Het Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival, Cambridge University and New Music North West.


Recent works have included Scherzo in La Maggiore (for orchestra, premiered by Orchestra Wellington in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington, NZ, in October 2021), I Heard Nothing But the Roaring Sea (premiered by Hugo Herman Wilson at SmorgasChord in June 2021), The Mosaique of the Aire (commissioned by the Mahler Foundation for Het Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival 2020), and Grand Pas de Cinq (premiered by Lontano Ensemble and Odaline de la Martinez). In 2010, he won the BBC Young Composers’ Competition as one of the youngest ever winners, leading, aged only 14, to the premiere of Kollaps, for clarinet and electronics, at the Royal Albert Hall, London.


He completed a masters in 2019 with Sir George Benjamin at King’s College London, for which he received the Hilda Margaret Watts Prize. He graduated in 2017 from the University of Oxford, studied at Chetham’s School of Music and privately with Joseph Phibbs. He has also studied with composers such as Unsuk Chin, Oliver Knussen, Brian Ferneyhough and Bent Sørensen.


Also active as a pianist, he runs the music festival SmorgasChord. An article on the work of Hans Abrahamsen is due for publication by TEMPO (Cambridge University Press) in July 2022.


Forthcoming projects include the postponed premiere of The Mosaique of the Aire, a new work for Meitar Ensemble’s CEME Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, and a new work for cellist Tim Posner at SmorgasChord 2022.

He is represented on SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music, Toi te Arapūoru. You can view and hire scores from them here.


He is a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 


See a long version of this biography here

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Sebastian Black Composer

All images © Sebastian Black unless otherwise stated.

Above: Tongariro National Park, NZ (2020). Below: © Rupert Dugdale.