Cecilia Damström

Ville Juurikkala
Composer Cecilia Damström is nominated for the 2024 Nordic Council Music Prize for the work “Extinctions” (2023).


Cecilia Damström (born in 1988) has become known as a versatile and skilled composer who masters many different forms of expression, from chamber and vocal music to children’s operas and works for symphony orchestra.  

Damström’s way of addressing the surrounding world and the troubles our time runs like a common thread throughout her compositions. The long series of works about the climate crisis (Requiem for our Earth, ICE, Fretus, Wasteland, Permafrost) culminates with Extinctions, which was written for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and had its premiere in January 2024. 

The piece is about the emergence of life, evolution, and mass extinctions of species. The structure follows the timeline of evolution over the past 600 million years, where one minute in the music corresponds to 30 million years in the history of the universe. The current Holocene period lasts for 0.02 seconds. 

In Damström’s extensive and diverse production, Extinctions ranks among the most modernistic creations. She skilfully leverages all the potential a symphony orchestra has to offer and, over 20 minutes, constructs a refined, long-term, and captivating whole. 

The composer’s approach to addressing the climate crisis based on science stems from a deep ethical conviction, and her way of observing the environment and society has become an inseparable component of her composer identity and worldview. Not without good reason, Damström has been called the Greta Thunberg of music.