Anders Hillborg

Mats Lundqvist
Composer Anders Hillborg is nominated for the 2024 Nordic Council Music Prize for the work “Cello Concerto” (2020).

In his single-movement 28-minute cello concerto from 2020, Anders Hillborg (born in 1954) demonstrates a playful relationship between parts and whole, with long lines and volcanic-like eruptions, reminiscent of a distillation of Nordic nature. 


The piece’s opening sounds are shaped in ecclesiastical vaults into Renaissance polyphonic lines, hinting at both the psalm and the folkloric melancholy with resonances as if it were a Hardanger fiddle. Here, Hillborg seizes upon the inherent intimacy and temperament of the cello’s sound, allowing it to hover ethereally alongside the strings in a state of absolute tranquility, before playfully engaging with the orchestra’s sections in frenetic outbursts, like sunlit reflections on water – impactful and elegant. The cello part is truly both lyrical and virtuosic, thus requiring craftsmanship, expression, and timing. The rhythmically driven passages characteristic of Hillborg also demand precise co-ordination at a detailed level between soloist and orchestra.  


To compose a cohesive concerto like Hillborg gives us as listeners the gift of immersing ourselves in a different state, to forget, to remember, to pause, and to do what we as humans are created to do – to feel.