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Mark Simpson

Clarinet
Composer in Association, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Mark Simpson has now established himself as a major new voice on the international stage. As a performer and composer, he is committed to new music and his compositions have been performed at the BBC Proms, Salzburg and Edinburgh International Festivals, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre London, amongst others.

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  • Simpson performs worldwide as a clarinettist, both as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent concerto highlights include the Nielsen Concerto at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and HK Gruber, as well as appearances at the Cologne Philharmonie, Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Aldeburgh Festivals with artists including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust, Antoine Tamestit and Jean-Guihen Queyras. He has also appeared with orchestras including the Mozarteum Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Northern Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia and BBC Concert Orchestra, collaborating with conductors including Juanjo Mena, Vasily Petrenko, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Baldur Brönnimann and Martyn Brabbins. In 2015, Simpson was appointed Composer in Association at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, a creative partnership that is in place for a period of four years.


    As a recitalist, he regularly performs at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, BeethovenFest, Sage Gateshead, Cheltenham Festival, O’Modernt and Trasimeno Festivals, with premieres of works by Simon Holt, Jonathan Harvey and Edmund Finnis.


    As a composer, Simpson’s most recent orchestral work, The Immortal (2015), an oratorio for baritone, chorus and symphony orchestra, was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic and Juanjo Mena at the Manchester International Festival, with support from Sky Arts Futures Fund and IdeasTap, receiving immediate critical acclaim: ‘blazingly original’ (Guardian); ‘the best new choral work I’ve heard in years’ (Times). In July 2016 The Immortal won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music and will be performed at the BBC Proms in July 2017. Other orchestral works include Israfel (2014), premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton, sparks (2012), commissioned for the Last Night of the BBC Proms and A mirror-fragment… (2008), written for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.


    Previous composing highlights include the premiere of Simpson’s first opera , Pleasure, with a libretto by Melanie Challenger, commissioned by Opera North, the Royal Opera and Aldeburgh Music with performances in Leeds, Liverpool, Aldeburgh and London. Simpson also premiered a new trio for clarinet, piano and viola with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Antoine Tamestit, commissioned by the Salzburg and Edinburgh International Festivals. He also gave the online premiere of Darkness Moves for solo clarinet, commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. Current commissions include a Cello Concerto for the BBC Philharmonic and Leonard Elschenbroich, and a Piano Trio for the Gould Trio supported through Beyond Borders and the PRS for Music Foundation.


    Born in Liverpool in 1988, Simpson became the first ever winner of both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year competitions in 2006. He went on to read Music at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, graduating with first class honours, and studied composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama before being selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust. Simpson was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012-2014. He received a Borletti-Butoni Trust Fellowship in 2014 and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award in 2010, and is a Visiting Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.


    Simpson’s first disc on NMC, Prism, featured him as performer; the second disc for NMC was released in 2016, featuring his own chamber and ensemble works including Night Music, a cello and piano piece written for Elschenbroich and premiered at the Wigmore Hall.


    Mark Simpson's compositions are published by Boosey & Hawkes.

    2017-18 season / 623 words. Not to be edited without permission.

Performances

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Compositions

After Avedon (2017) 15’
Piano Trio


Darkness Moves (2016) 10’
Clarinet solo


Hommage à Kurtág (2016) 8’
Clarinet, viola and piano


Pleasure (2016) 70’
Chamber opera


The Immortal (2015) 35’
Solo baritone, semi-chorus, optional large chorus and orchestra


Israfel (2014) 12’
Full orchestra


Night Music (2014) 15’
Cello and piano


Un Regalo (2014) 8’
Cello solo


Exile (2013) 8’
Chorus a cappella


Geysir (2013) 8’
Wind ensemble (12 wind instruments and double bass)


Salvator Mundi (2013) 5’
Chorus a cappella


Windflower (2013) 4’
Oboe/cor Anglais solo


Echoes and Embers (2012) 7’
Clarinet and piano


Flute Trio (2012) 18’
Flute trio


Sparks (2012) 4’
Full orchestra


Lethe (2011) 10’
Solo trombone and ensemble


Los Proverbios (2011) 18’
Piano and string ensemble


Straw Dogs (2010/11) 9’
Mixed ensemble (14 players)


Barkham Fantasy (2009/10) 7’
Piano solo


Ariel (2009) 18’
Basset clarinet, violin, cello and piano


A mirror-fragment... (2008) 11’
Full orchestra


Nur Musik (2008) 8’
Oboe/cor Anglais and orchestra


Threads (2007) 9’
Full orchestra


Lov(escape) (2006)
Clarinet and piano


Septet (2005) 10’
Ensemble

Concerto repertoire

John Adams
Gnarly Buttons


Bernstein
Prelude, Fugue & Riffs


Unsuk Chin
Clarinet Concerto


Finzi
Clarinet Concerto
Five Bagatelles (for clarinet and strings)


Hindemith
Clarinet Concerto


Simon Holt
Joy Beast


Magnus Lindberg
Clarinet Concerto


James Macmillan
Ninian


Mozart
Clarinet Concerto


Nielsen
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra


Mark-Anthony Turnage
Riffs and Refrains


Weber
Clarinet Concerto No.2
Concertino

I’ve never heard [the Mozart Clarinet Quintet] more beautifully done than in this performance… [his] honeyed tone wove weightlessly in amongst them... his sound was velvety at the bottom and his control seemed effortless. Classy stuff.

Herald Tribune

The Immortal is the most thrilling new choral work I have heard for years. With this piece, he and his librettist [Melanie Challenger] match the grandeur of those epic avant-garde choral pieces produced half a century ago by the likes of Penderecki, Stockhausen and the young Tavener... I immediately wanted to hear it again.

The Times

At the start of what one hopes will be long operatic career, Simpson has pulled off a genuine coup.

Guardian

Intermusica represents Mark Simpson worldwide.

Lucy Saunders
Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9936
lsaunders@intermusica.co.uk

Jessica Barra
Assistant Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9942
jbarra@intermusica.co.uk

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All artists

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Nora Fischer

Clarinet

Mark Simpson

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Rupert Enticknap

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles