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Short Biography
Composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson (b.1988, Liverpool) 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 and studied composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Simpson was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012-2014 and received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2014. In 2015 he was appointed Composer in Association of the BBC Philharmonic for a period of four years.

Simpson’s oratorio The Immortal was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic at the 2015 Manchester International Festival to immediate critical acclaim. Other works with orchestra include Israfel premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, sparks commissioned for the 2012 Last Night of the Proms and A mirror-fragment… written for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His first opera Pleasure was commissioned by Opera North, the Royal Opera and Aldeburgh Music and premiered in 2016.

Chamber works include Hommage à Kurtág for clarinet, piano and viola, commissioned by the Salzburg and Edinburgh International festivals for premiere in 2016 by Simpson alongside Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Antoine Tamestit, and a solo clarinet work Darkness Moves commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. Under his Composer in Association role with the BBC Philharmonic Simpson has composed a Cello Concerto for Leonard Elschenbroich in 2018 and a Clarinet Concerto for himself as soloist in 2019. His most recent work is a Violin Concerto for Nicola Benedetti, due for premiere in April 2021.

A collection of Simpson's chamber works, entitled Night Music, was released in 2016 by NMC and 2020 brought a recording of wind ensemble music on Orchid Classics combining Simpson's Geysir with Mozart's Gran Partita. Simpson continues to perform widely as a soloist and chamber musician, with recent highlights including Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps at the Aldeburgh Festival with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras. In 2016 he performed Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, with the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg conducted by HK Gruber and at the 2018 BBC Proms. Recent highlights included a feature as composer and performer at the 2020 Trondheim Chamber Music Festival.

March 2021

Long Biography
Composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson (b.1988, Liverpool) 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, 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-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2014 and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award in 2010, and is a Visiting Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. In 2015 he was appointed Composer in Association of the BBC Philharmonic for a period of four years.

Simpson’s 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’ (The Guardian); ‘the best new choral work I’ve heard in years’ (The Times). 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 Proms and A mirror-fragment… (2008), written for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Highlights of 2016 included 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 Hommage à Kurtág 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. Under his Composer in Association role with the BBC Philharmonic Simpson has composed a Cello Concerto for Leonard Elschenbroich in 2018 and a Clarinet Concerto for himself as soloist in 2019.

Simpson performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician and is hugely committed to the performance of new music. He performed and recorded the Lindberg Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adams’s Gnarly Buttons with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and has given many solo performances including with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Vasily Petrenko), Northern Sinfonia (Yan Pascal Tortelier), BBC Philharmonic (Gianandrea Noseda), City of London Sinfonia and BBC Concert Orchestra . He has played recitals at Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Sage Gateshead, Cheltenham Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, BeethovenFest, O’Modernt and Trasimeno Festivals, with premieres of works by Simon Holt, Jonathan Harvey and Edmund Finnis. Recent highlights including Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto at the 2015 BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps at the Aldeburgh Festival with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras.

Simpson performed Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and HK Gruber in February 2016 and was invited to play the concerto again in Salzburg in November of the same year and at the 2018 BBC Proms with Juanjo Mena. During summer 2016 he made his debut at the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals in a trio programme of Schumann and Kurtág, alongside his own new work, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Antoine Tamestit. In 2019 he was composer in residence at the Leicester International Music Festival, who co-commissioned his Oboe Quartet for oboist Nicholas Daniel, and in 2020 he was featured composer at the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, the first major feature of his music in Norway. Highlights in 2021 include first performances of a Violin Concerto for Nicola Benedetti with commissioners including the London Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Simpson’s first disc on NMC ‘Prism’ featured him as performer; the second disc for NMC 'Night Music' was released in 2016, featuring the composer's own chamber and ensemble works. 2020 brought a recording of wind ensemble music on Orchid Classics combining Simpson's Geysir with Mozart's Gran Partita. Mark Simpson's music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.

March 2021

Reproduction Rights
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes

 

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