Torbjörn Helander started off his musical path as a recorder player, performed as a soloist with orchestras and participated in masterclasses with Clas Pehrsson and Dan Laurin already at the age of 11. Then followed studies in violin, viola, piano and composition. With the viola as the main instrument he studied at the Malmö College of Music with Josef Kodousek and Henrik Frendin, and in 1991, at the age of 20 he became principal violist of Malmö Opera Orchestra. He also took masterclasses and lessons with other prominent musicians such as David Takeno, Lars Anders Tomter and members of the Alban Berg Quartet. Since 1996 Torbjörn lives in Stockholm and holds a position in Kungliga Hovkapellet (Royal Swedish Orchestra). He performs often in different chamber music constellations, in radio and television and appears on a number of CD:s.
As a composer Torbjörn has a long list of works, mainly chamber works, including songs and ballet music. He works with choreographers, for example Gunnlaugur Egilsson, to whom he composed music to his piece Membran, that was also broadcasted in Swedish television from a performance in the city hall. As an arranger he has worked with the Czech choreographer Filip Veverka, who in november 2017 created a full length ballet, Manon, for the Plzeň Opera house, where Torbjörn put together, arranged and orchestrated music by Aleksandr Glazunov. He has also written music for film maker Johan Heurgren.
In september 2018 his Kammarsymfoni (Chamber Symphony) had its first performance at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm. This work reached the final round in Los Angeles-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra´s competition/call for scores 2019 out of over 2200 applications.
2020 Torbjörn also reached the final in Classic Pure Vienna International Music Competition.
In May 2022 his short opera Taro (libretto by Ola Eliasson) had its premiere at the Royal Opera in Stockholm .
"...Helander, a Swedish composer born in 1971, writes in an appealing, neo-Romantic style, with an accent that calls to mind an early- to mid-20th century French style, with hints of a Russian accent; you would never have guessed that the work was completed only last year. I'm not sure how much that matters now, with composers freely combining influences and styles. In any case, Helander's Allegro Capriccioso is an engaging piece, with tightly interwoven themes and a laid-back sensibility that keeps the music's energetic undercurrents in check.
Those qualities, and Helander's gracefully melodic style, make the piece an appealing curtain-raiser..."
Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald, USA, 11 nov 2019