Kirsty Hilton was born in Sydney in 1976. She began playing violin at the age of five as a Suzuki method student before beginning lessons with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, aged seven. She attended the Sydney Conservatorium High School where she was awarded numerous prizes, before completing her undergraduate studies with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music.
During this time she worked with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra. In 1998 she was a postgraduate student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under David Takeno.
From 1999 to 2001 Kirsty Hilton was a member of the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where she performed under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink and Lorin Maazel. She was then contracted by the Berlin Philharmonic for a year, before being appointed Assistant Principal Second Violin in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, under the direction of Mariss Jansons. She still performs regularly with these orchestras as well as with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg.