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Mark Simpson

Clarinet
Composer in Association, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Artist in Residence, Lammermuir Festival 2018-19

  • Mark Simpson has now established himself as a major figure in the contemporary music world, hailed as a “revelation” (Bachtrack) and “standout” (Guardian). 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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  • SSimpson performs worldwide as a clarinettist, both as a concerto soloist and chamber musician. Recent concerto highlights include the World Premiere of his own Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at the Bridgewater Hall, the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at the BBC Proms, the Nielsen Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and in 2019/20 he makes his debut with the Danish National Symphony and Ulster Orchestras. He has also appeared with orchestras including the Mozarteum Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Royal Northern Sinfonia, collaborating with conductors including Martyn Brabbins, Baldur Brönnimann, Sir Andrew Davis, Ben Gernon, HK Gruber, Cristian Măcelaru, Juanjo Mena, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko, Clemens Schuldt and Yan Pascal Tortelier. 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 and chamber musician, he regularly performs at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, as well as at festivals including Salzburg, Edinburgh International, Aldeburgh, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, BeethovenFest and Reykjavik Midsummer Music, with premieres of works by Simon Holt, Jonathan Harvey and Edmund Finnis. His regular chamber partners include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust, Danielle de Niese, Vikingur Olafsson, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Antoine Tamestit. Recent chamber highlights have included an Artist Residency at Lammermuir Festival, a BBC Radio 3 Chamber Weekend at Saffron Hall curated by Simpson, and a play/direct performance with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10, all of which included Simpson’s own compositions.


    As a composer Simpson’s most recent composition is his Clarinet Concerto (2019) which was discussed in a feature with BBC Music Magazine, giving a glimpse into the creative and psychological processes of writing new music: “It’s dark. It’s like a dark, deep expressive thing. It’s there, and I don’t know what it is, but it cries out with pain. That’s the emotional rawness I need before I even get going”. His Cello Concerto (2018), premiered by Leonard Elschenbroich with the BBC Philharmonic and Clemens Schuldt, was rapturously received and The Immortal (2015), an oratorio for baritone, chorus and symphony orchestra, was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic and Mena at the Manchester International Festival, with support from Sky Arts Futures Fund and IdeasTap. In July 2016 The Immortal won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music and in spring 2019, the work received its North American premiere with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Mena.


    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’s trio for clarinet, piano and viola Hommage à Kurtág was commissioned by the Salzburg and Edinburgh International Festivals and in 2016 he gave the online premiere of Darkness Moves for solo clarinet, commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.


    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.


    Mark plays on Peter Eaton International model clarinets since April 2004.

    2019-20 season / 760 words. Not to be edited without permission.

    Intermusica represents Mark Simpson worldwide.

Performances

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Compositions

After Avedon (2017) 15’
Piano Trio


Cello Concerto (2016-2018) 24'
Cello and Orchestra


Clarinet Concerto (2019) 15'
Clarinet and Orchestra


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


John Corigliano
Clarinet Concerto


Brett Dean
Ariel’s Music


Finzi
Clarinet Concerto
Five Bagatelles (for clarinet and strings)


Golijov
Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind


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


Michel Van der Aa
Hysteresis


Weber
Clarinet Concerto No.2
Concertino

Conductors

Martyn Brabbins
Baldur Brönnimann
Paul Daniel
Brett Dean
André de Ridder
Ben Gernon
Moritz Gnann
HK Gruber
Andrew Litton
Cristian Măcelaru
Juanjo Mena
Gianandrea Noseda
Sakari Oramo
Vasily Petrenko
Clemens Schuldt
Yan Pascal Tortelier

Sample Chamber Programmes

With piano & cello


Helmut Lachenmann: Dal niente
Helmut Lachenmann: Pression
Helmut Lachenmann: Guierro
Beethoven: Beethoven Clarinet Trio in B-Flat Major
Helmut Lachenmann: Allegro sostenuto


Beethoven: Beethoven Clarinet Trio in B-Flat Major
Mark Simpson: Night Music
Mark Simpson: Echoes and Embers
Mark Simpson: Barkham Fantasy
Brahms: Clarinet Trio


With viola & piano


Mozart: Keglstatt
Schumann: Märchenerzählungen
Kurtág: Homage á Schumann
Mark Simpson: Homage á Kurtág
Marco Stroppa: Homage á Kurtág


With string quartet


Mozart: Clarinet Quintet
Mark Simpson: Clarinet Quintet
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet


Thomas Adès: Catch
Mark Simpson: Ariel
Hindemith: Quartet
Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time


Sample chamber orchestra programme


Mozart: Overture to La clemenza di Tito
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
Mark Simpson: Mozart’s Third Brain
Mozart: Symphony No.29

Simpson proved to be something of a revelation in the [Lindberg] concerto…there appeared at times to be nothing that this hugely talented soloist could not do.... Highly impressive.

Bachtrack

[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

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

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Clarinet

Mark Simpson

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles