Max Lilja - the future of the cello - 

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

”On stage we see a stylish tall figure with a gorgeous shiny black electric cello focused on creating sounds that are like distant whispers of the ancient acoustic instrument from late 1600, this ambient feeling carries us deep into our imaginations. Suddenly the fragile sound image is destroyed, the pounding beats start shaking the room, Max is dancing and playing, modern sounds fill the space, the party is starting!” 

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, 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 and composer 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, is composing music for films, theatre and games, has worked with many international artists including world famous cross over soprano Tarja Turunen 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 over thousand concerts in over 60 countries.


Solo albums

10 000 Miens, 2018
Morphosis, 2015
Plays Electronica By One Cello, 2013
credits: music, production, performance


Othercide (Original Game Soundtrack), 2020

The Exorcist (Original Radio Play Soundtrack), 2020


Act 1, 2012
credits: cellist

Gentle Anarchy, 2012
Sound Over Matter, 2005
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 - 2nd Apocalyptica album Inquisition Symphony

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

2000 - 3rd Apocalyptica album Cult

2001 - last tours 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 - 2nd 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 - working on the 1st solo album, touring with Tarja

2011 - working on the 1st solo album, touring with Tarja

2012 - working on the 1st solo album, Hevein EP Gentle Anarchy, touring with Tarja

2013 - 1st 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, film music composing

2015 - 2nd solo album Morphosis, solo shows, touring with Tarja

2016 - solo shows, performing in the opening of Slush, film music composing, touring with Tarja

2017 - solo shows,  participating at Camp - festival, Apocalyptica feat. Max Lilja at Wacken Open Air, touring with Tarja

2018 - 3rd solo album 10 000 Miens, solo shows, touring with Tarja, film, theatre and game music composing

2019 - solo shows, music to radio play Manaaja (The Exorcist), film music composing

2020 - some shows, covid, Othercide game

2021 - covid, working on new ideas, Nature Concert Hall concerts

2022 - working on a new project, touring with Tarja, solo show at Amsterdam Cellofest