"Irresistible": Mark Simpson's Cello Concerto met with critical acclaim
Mark Simpson's cello concerto was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Leonard Elschenbroich on 21 April 2018, part of Simpson's four-year tenure as the orchestra's Composer in Association. The concerto was greeted with great praise from the music press:
“The premiere of Mark Simpson’s concerto… confirmed him as one of the UK’s most exciting young talents… it is both immediately compelling and mysterious at the same time, for Simpson has the precious knack of making relatively conventional gestures seem totally original and he uses a fundamentally tonal language in an utterly distinctive, never derivative way, so that nothing is ever quite what it seems.”
Guardian, April 2018
“There’s plenty of Simpson’s usual post-serial parade: music airborne, kaleidoscopic, swirling with life. This is a contemporary piece with a pulsing heart and I found it irresistible.”
Times, April 2018
“The bravura, the assurance and the sheer generosity of this music is unarguable… it’s gorgeous.”
Spectator, April 2018
Danielle de Niese & Mark Simpson perform at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the International Chamber Music Series
Danielle de Niese and Mark Simpson join Sir James Galway, Menahem Pressler and the Navarra String Quartet in concert at the newly reopened Queen Elizabeth Hall on 27 April 2018. Part of the Intermusica co-promoted International Chamber Music Series, the concert features a programme of music by Roussel, Schubert and Chausson.
Other upcoming highlights for De Niese include a return to Wiener Staatsoper as Norina Don Pasquale and her role debut as Musetta at the Royal Opera House. Next season she reprises Musetta at the Chicago Lyric Opera and makes her debut at La Monnaie as Norina Don Pasquale. Meanwhile, Simpson's appearance comes soon after the world premiere of his Cello Concerto, which is given by Leonard Elschenbroich and the BBC Philharmonic on 21 April.
The International Chamber Music Series returns on 11 May with Ligeti's Horn Trio.
Mark Simpson's cello concerto receives world premiere from Leonard Elschenbroich & the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Mark Simpson's Cello Concerto receives its world premiere at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall on 21 April 2018. Leonard Elschenbroich is the soloist and is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic under the baton of Clemens Schuldt. Simpson previews the piece in a pre-concert talk, which is presented by Simon Webb.
Simpson is the BBC Philharmonic's Composer in Association, and their partnership has included a performance of Simon Holt's clarinet concerto, Joy Beast, at the Hull New Music Biennale in 2017 and the world premiere of Simpson's The Immortal:
“Despite its arcane and morbid subject, Mark Simpson’s oratorio The Immortal is the most thrilling new choral work I have heard for years. With this piece, he and his librettist 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... Simpson’s multilayered, swirling score, superbly realised by the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena, transcends these specifics to evoke the philosophical turmoil of humanity in general as we cling to such concepts as love, soul and immortality when the cold materialism of modern science suggests that such things are tricks of the sentimental mind.”
Times, October 2015
Brett Dean conducts and performs with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra & Mark Simpson
Brett Dean travels to Dublin this January for two performances with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra on 16 and 19 January 2018. In the first, Dean conducts the orchestra and fellow Intermusica artist Mark Simpson in a performance of his clarinet concerto, Ariel’s Music, which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers. The programme is completed by Ed Bennet Freefalling.
Dean rejoins the orchestra on 19 January to perform the Irish premiere of his Viola Concerto under the baton of Olari Elts. Dean’s performances of his Viola Concerto have earned critical appraisal over the decade since its premiere in 2005:
"Dean has written something as personal as one would expect. The haunting and arresting sounds are all his own, and bright colours suggest a strong connection to his country’s landscape. Indeed, the peaceful close, in which the previously hectic solo viola emerges purified, evokes a lullaby in which the earth seems to be singing itself to sleep."
Mark Simpson debuts at the Little Missinden Festival with Richard Uttley
Mark Simpson makes his debut at the Little Missenden Festival on 16 October 2017. Performing alongside Richard Uttley at the St John the Baptist Church, his programme includes the Finzi Bagatelles, Simpson's own Echoes and Embers, Ireland Fantasy-Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Bliss Pastoral and Howells Sonata for Clarinet in A major.
Elsewhere this month, Simpson and Uttley perform the same programme at the Cedar Hall in Wells and also give a recital at Royal Holloway University.
Looking further ahead, Simpson performs with the Pixels Ensemble in Leeds and his hometown of Liverpool, and later in the season at the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series.
Mark Simpson joins Intermusica
Intermusica is delighted to announce the signing of clarinettist and conductor Mark Simpson.
Mark Simpson has 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.
Simpson performs worldwide as a clarinettist, both as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent highlights include the Nielsen Concerto at the BBC Proms, the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic, as well as appearances at the Cologne Philharmonie, Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Aldeburgh Festivals with artists including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust and Antoine Tamestit. He has appeared with orchestras including the Mozarteum Salzburg, BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales with conductors including Juanjo Mena, Vasily Petrenko, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Andrew Davis, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Baldur Brönnimann, HK Gruber and Martyn Brabbins.
As a composer, Simpson’s most recent orchestral work The Immortal, an oratorio for baritone, chorus and symphony orchestra, was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic and Juanjo Mena at the 2015 Manchester International Festival. The Immortal won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music in 2016 and will be performed at the BBC Proms on 27 July 2017. You can read on the Times website Richard Morrison’s recent profile piece on Simpson and tonight’s London premiere of The Immortal. 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. Simpson’s first opera Pleasure, with a libretto by Melanie Challenger, was commissioned by Opera North, the Royal Opera and Aldeburgh Music and has been performed in London, Aldeburgh, Liverpool and Leeds. In 2015, Simpson was appointed Composer in Association at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for a period of four years.
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. Simpson was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012-2014, 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.
Intermusica represents Mark Simpson worldwide as a clarinettist and conductor. Simpson's compositions are published by Boosey and Hawkes.
Mark Simpson's The Immortal performed at the BBC Proms by the BBC Philharmonic
This year’s BBC Proms again features music written by Mark Simpson, as the BBC Philharmonic and Chief Conductor Juanjo Mena perform his oratorio The Immortal on 27 July 2017.
Mena and the orchestra gave the world premiere performance of the work at the Manchester International Festival and has since received huge critical acclaim:
"The best new choral work I’ve heard in years
In July 2016 The Immortal won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music.
Mark Simpson premieres Simon Holt’s Joy Beast with Martyn Brabbins at the New Music Biennial
Mark Simpson joins Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Philharmonic at the PRS Foundation's New Music Biennial on 30 June 2017 to give the world premiere of Simon Holt's Joy Beast. The new work, a basset clarinet concerto, is inspired by a black and white print by Cecil Collins depicting a rampant bull-like creature with fearsome horns. This year, the New Music Biennial takes place in Hull, the UK’s 2017 City of Culture.
Simpson then takes Joy Beast to the Royal Festival Hall on 9 July, this time with the BBC Concert Orchestra under the baton of André de Ridder.
Simpson’s own music is also showcased in Hull and in London: the Gould Piano Trio give the world premiere of his new trio, After Avedon, inspired by an exhibition of Richard Avedon’s photographs.