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). 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 this 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. Also this season, Simpson premieres a new trio for clarinet, piano and viola with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Antoine Tamestit, commissioned by the Salzburg and Edinburgh International festivals. Other forthcoming commissions include a new work for solo clarinet, 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.

Simpson’s debut disc for NMC is released in May 2016, featuring chamber and ensemble works including Night Music, a cello and piano piece written for Leonard Elschenbroich and premiered at the Wigmore Hall. His ensemble works have been performed by such ensembles as London Sinfonietta, Psappha and Ensemble 10/10, while as a chamber musician Mark has performed with Isabelle Faust, Angela Hewitt, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Jean-Guihen Queyras, among others. He also performs regularly as a concerto soloist, notably in Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto at the 2015 BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and most recently in Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and HK Gruber.


Image credit: 
Kaupo Kikkas