Sebastian was born in 1996 in Colchester, UK. He recently completed a Masters in composition with Sir George Benjamin at King's College London, for which he was recipient of the Hilda Margaret Watts Prize, awarded for the highest Master’s mark. He graduated in 2017 from the University of Oxford with a first-class degree in music. While at Oxford, he received composition tuition from Robert Saxton and academic supervision from Jonathan Cross. Previously he studied at Chetham’s School of Music, studying composition with Jeremy Pike, and privately with Joseph Phibbs.
His music has been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, the BBC, the University of Cambridge, DanceEast, and New Music North West. In 2010, aged 14, he won BBC Young Composer. In the same year his piece Kollaps, for clarinet and electronics (2010), was premiered by Jordan Black at the Royal Albert Hall, London. This was followed by Five Lorca Settings (Jesus College, Cambridge, 2011), Notturno (Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 2012), and Narcissus (Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, 2013). More recent works have included a song cycle, Chrysalis (Christ Church, Oxford, 2015, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2016), a chamber opera, The Sun (the premiere of which he conducted at Christ Church, Oxford, in 2016), and a work for large orchestra, Idyll-Cortège (Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, 2017).
He has been taught by a number of leading leading contemporary composers, including Charlotte Bray, Oliver Knussen, Joanna McGregor, Colin Matthews, David Matthews, Anna Meredith, Rebecca Saunders, Sasha Siem, and Bent Sørensen. In the autumn of 2017, he studied tabla at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi, India.
Sebastian also performs on occasion as a pianist. Most recently, he collaborated with Lemi Ponifasio for the creation of Exiled Forever at Te Ata in Porirua, New Zealand. In 2016, he was invited to play at the memorial concert for Sir Peter Maxwell Davies at St John’s Smith Square, London, in which he performed the Five Pieces for Piano Op. 2. He also enjoyed working in 2016 with Rebecca Saunders on a performance of her Duo. He has also enjoyed curating concerts and festivals, most notably the Christ Church Music Weekend, a festival of chamber music, recitals and poetry reading, with music ranging from Philippe de Vitry to Jörg Widmann.
Reflecting his strong interest in contemporary music, his academic work has focused on analyses of the music of Hans Abrahamsen, George Benjamin, Unsuk Chin, and Oliver Knussen, as well as studying the influence of early jazz on the work of Igor Stravinsky. He is also a regular contributor to India’s only Western Classical-music magazine, Serenade.
Forthcoming projects include a new work commissioned by the Mahler Foundation for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra to be toured across Europe by the Orchestra for the Earth and John Warner. The world premiere will be at Paradiso, Amserdam, as part of Het Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival 2020 in May 2020.
He is represented on SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music, Toi te Arapūoru. You can view and hire scores from them here.
A full CV and translation of this biography are available on request.