About Sebastian Zinca

Sebastian Zinca recently graduated from the Sibelius Academy as a student of Sakari Oramo. As part of his studies, he conducted the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, and the Pori Sinfonietta. In February 2021, he made his guest conducting debut with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra with a program of Barber, Wagner, and Mozart. In August 2021 he was awarded a Silver Medal at the Antal Doráti Conducting Competition with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV. He has been a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and won the President’s Prize at the European Music Academy for his work on Così fan tutte.


Besides his symphonic work, Sebastian is deeply passionate about opera. He has conducted 3 productions with the Sibelius Academy Opera - Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz, and Handel’s Alcina, the latter of which was performed on period instruments. Following a masterclass with Karel Mark Chichon, he was one of four conductors from around the world chosen to conduct an act of La Bohème in concert with the Orquesta Filarmònica de Gran Canaria. While at Aspen he was selected to serve as assistant conductor for Missy Mazzoli’s opera Proving Up.


Before moving to Finland from New York City, Sebastian assembled an orchestra of top young players from Juilliard and Yale School of Music. The orchestra aimed to blur the lines between genres, break the rules of traditional symphonic concerts, and reach as wide an audience as possible. The orchestra’s final concert - a concert for hope programmed around Martin Luther King Day - featured a world premiere by rising young composer Nicky Sohn, four world premiere arrangements of jazz standards sung by the virtuoso young jazz vocalist Vuyo Sotashe, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, and a world premiere arrangement Sebastian created of the civil rights era tune We Shall Overcome for orchestra, singer, spoken word, and audience choir. 


Sebastian earned his bachelor’s degree in double bass at the Juilliard School. An accomplished double bassist, he toured the UK and Russia including the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, and toured Japan with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, both under Valery Gergiev. During his time at Juilliard he played as principal bass with the Juilliard Orchestra and worked with conductors Gianandrea Noseda, Fabio Luisi, David Zinman, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Thomas Adès. 


In 2017, Sebastian and violinist Ariel Horowitz gave a recital tour of Europe culminating in a performance of Holocaust memorial music at the Altejudenramp in Auschwitz. Sebastian has played over 40 concerts in hospitals, nursing homes, and homeless shelters. He has volunteered as teacher and performer with the Heartbeat Music Project and with Juilliard’s ArtReach, working with children on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, and in New Orleans, respectively.


Sebastian’s path into classical music began at the age of 13 when he first heard Bach’s unaccompanied violin Sonata No. 3. He felt instantly in love, listening to Bach’s music relentlessly for the next year. Only just having started to learn the double bass, he became committed to learning every note of the solo Cello Suites. 


Sebastian was born in Miami, Florida to Romanian and Peruvian parents. Since moving to Finland he has developed an enormous appreciation for sunshine. 


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