Cathy Nelson Artists and Projects
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Mark Simpson - Composer/Clarinetist
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-Butoni 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 most recent 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' (The Guardian); 'the best new choral work I've heard in years' (The Times). In July 2016 The Immortal won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music. 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 last season 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 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. Other forthcoming commissions include a Cello Concerto for Leonard Elschenbroich and the BBC Philharmonic, and a Piano Trio for the Gould Trio, supported through Beyond Borders and the PRS for Music Foundation.

Mark performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician and is hugely committed to the performance of new music. He performed and recorded the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adams’s Gnarly Buttons with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and has given many solo performances including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Vassily 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.

Mark 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 the same year. In summer 2016 he made his debut at the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals in a trio programme of Schumann and Kurtag, alongside his own new work, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Antoine Tamestit.

Simpsons first disc on NMC Prism featured him as performer; the second disc for NMC was released in 2016, featuring Mark's own chamber and ensemble works.

January 2017