John Lilja holds a bassist and composer from Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating , he moved back to Vermont , where he grew up . Here he taught bass at several universities, in addition to playing in several jazz , blues and rock groups.
In 1997, Lilja moved to Stavanger. Here he came in contact with the known improvisior Frode Gjerstad, known for developing young musicians through his large ensemble Circulasione Totale Orchestra. Lilja helped the Circulasione album, Borealis ( Cadence Jazz Records) in 1998 .
Since then, Lilja established himself as a versatile musician and composer , who has collaborated with Arve Henriksen, Stian Carstensen, Thomas Dybdahl, Evan Parker, Paal Nilssen -Love , Marilyn Crispell , Janove Ottesen , Alexander von Schlippenback, Keith Tippett, Kjetil Møster and many others. He has composed music for the Norwegian and the Metropole Orkest in The Netherlands, and has written big band arrangement for Richard Bona .
Lilja is a member of Gunhild Seim & Time Jungle, contemporary orchestra Stavanger Kitchen Orchestra and art – punk band Wunderkammer . In autumn 2012 he released his first album as a band leader, robblerobble1 on Drollehålå records .
Lilja is a musician in 1537 – Dansketid .