Max Lilja - the future of the cello - 

from inventing cello rock to a rebirth as a visionary solo artist

Max Lilja, Finnish cellist, composer and producer, one of the founders of the million selling genre defining cello rock band Apocalyptica, a band that in the 90’s changed the dusty image of this old instrument to an up to date musical tool cool for modern kids, is now on a new mission as a solo artist with the visionary cello electro. Combining his classical background, years in rock, virtuosity and musical diversity with the urge to find unbeaten paths to celebrate his musical talent he’s raising the bar for modern instrumentalism. The cello has changed again. 

 ”My sole inspiration for making music is my love to experience and express emotions trough this forever evolving universal language. Creating electronic music with cello gives the music a very specific human touch and forces me to find new ways to create unique sounds. I’m interested in combining different worlds and want to think anything is possible. Fragility and strength together often make music and art stand out and appear especially interesting.” 

Plays Electronica By One Cello, (2013), the solo debut of the cello adventurer featured instrumental songs inspired by 90’s electronic scene. Morphosis, (2015), continued this unique cello experience with darker tone. 10000 Miens, to be released on April 10th  2018, features timeless originals from ambient to upbeat electronica. 

 ”I see it more as song writers album, whereas before I was playing around with the cello now I composed songs that could be arranged to any artist. Biggest inspiration for these songs was human face in the cinematic moments we experience in our daily life, it’s magical how short moments can have such strong message, with or without words. I love the contrasts of the album, from fragile moments to inevitably driving electro choruses. It’s a start of a new era for me as an artist and I would say by far my best album.”

 Max Lilja, Finnish cellist, composer and producer studied classical cello at the music university Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Lilja has released three solo albums of electronic cello music, Plays Electronica By One Cello, (2013), Morphosis, (2015) and 10000 Miens, (2018). Max Lilja was a co-founder of the million selling cello rock band Apocalyptica, has worked with many international artists including world famous cross over soprano Tarja Turunen, has composed music for films and is known as one of the most versatile and adventurous acoustic and electric cellists of all time. In his career Lilja has performed in hundreds of concerts in over 60 countries.

long bio coming soon.


Solo albums
Morphosis, 2015
Plays Electronica By One Cello, 2013
credits: all music, all music production, all music performance

Act 1, 2012
credits: cellist

Gentle Anarchy, 2012
Sound Over Matter, 2008
credits: composer, arranger, cellist

Tekijä Tuntematon
Syksyllä Mikäkin, 2008
Rakkauden Ovi, 2005
credits: arranger, cellist

Live, 2001
Cult, 2000
Inquisition Symphony, 1998
Plays Metallica By Four Cellos, 1996
credits: arranger, cellist


1975 - is born in Vantaa, Finland

1980 - starts playing violin

1982 - switches to cello

1983 - 1984 studies cello as a practice pupil for Panu Saari in Sibelius Academy

1985 - is considered highly talented and despite of his young age is accepted to the Junior Academy of Sibelius Academy

1985 - 1993 studies cello at Junior Academy of Sibelius Academy with Hannu Kiiski, Kazimierz Michalic and Dr. Raimo Sariola

1993 - plays For Whom The Bell Tolls with three cellist friends in a music summer camp party

1993 - is accepted to Sibelius Academy, majoring in music, studies cello with Dr. Raimo Sariola and Prof Arto Noras.

1994 - another cello metal band music summer camp experiment

1994 - 1996 principal cellist in Symphony Orchestra Vivo

1995 - principal cellist in Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra

1995 - the first rock club cello metal concert

1996 - Apocalyptica is founded, band is signed to a Finnish indie label Zen Garden,
”Plays Metallica By Four Cellos” is released, touring starts

1997 - touring with Apocalyptica, bands debut album is released worldwide, drops out of Sibelius Academy

1998 - the second Apocalyptica album ”Inquisition Symphony”

1999 - touring with Apocalyptica, cellist in Mestarit Areenalla -tour

2000 - the third Apocalyptica album ”Cult”

2001 - last tour with Apocalyptica

2002 - joins finnish multi genre metal band Hevein

2003 - cellist in Finnish National Opera Orchestra

2004 - Tekijä Tuntematon, a Finnish folk/pop/+ band whos music is based on Finnish poetry, is founded

2005 - Hevein debut album ”Sound Over Matter”,
Tekijä Tuntematon debut album ”Rakkauden Ovi”

2006 - searching for ” the sound ” of electrified cello, the idea of solo album is born

2007 - starts touring and recording with former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen

2008 - the second Tekijä Tuntematon album ”Syksyllä minäkin”,
”HeadFake + one” -tour with Living Colour rhythm section Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun,
touring with Tarja

2009 - pushing the limits of electrified cello in search of ” the sound ”, touring with Tarja

2010 - songwriting and demos for the first solo album, touring with Tarja

2011 - demos and recording the first solo album, touring with Tarja

2012 - recording, producing and mixing the first solo album, touring with Tarja

2013 - the first solo album ”Plays Electronica By One Cello”, composing music to a documentary film Taiteilijan työ, touring with Tarja, departs from Hevein

2014 - touring with Tarja, working on the second solo album,, some film music

2015 - the second solo album "Morphosis", solo shows, touring with Tarja

2016 - solo shows, music to a documentary film Hemen, working on the 3rd solo album, touring with Tarja