On a Piece of Tapestry
City of London Sinfonia
Michael Collins, clarinet
Gwilym Simcock, piano
John Sessions, narrator
This commission fuses the worlds of classical music and jazz, and celebrates the virtuosity of City of London Sinfonia Principal Conductor and Clarinettist Michael Collins with a distinctive new work for Clarinet, Strings, Jazz Trio and Speaker. The project brings together some of the UK's most exceptional musical talents.
“I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to create a new work, featuring the world-class City of London Sinfonia, for the New Music Biennial. My aim is that the music we create will be engaging and moving, and hopefully a fulfilling and unique musical experience for audiences and musicians alike.” Gwilym Simcock
“We are delighted to be selected for New Music Biennial. The Orchestra has a long tradition of commissioning new music, and it is very exciting to be working with Gwilym Simcock, who can lead our players and audiences to new sounds and experiences.” Matthew Swann, Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
About Gwilym Simcock
Gwilym Simcock is one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the British scene. Able to move effortlessly between jazz and classical music, he can, at times, inhabit both worlds and has been described as stylistically reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, complete with ‘harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions’ as well as being a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability. His music has been widely acclaimed as ‘engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex and wonderfully optimistic’. Gwilym’s influences include jazz legends Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and John Taylor and classical composers Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky, Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Although principally a jazz artist, Gwilym is breaking new ground between genres and often uses classical reference points in his composed work. Aside from his renowned solo piano work, Gwilym has worked extensively throughout Europe with the cream of British and international jazz artists including Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Bob Mintzer, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum. His own groups as leader range from trio to big band. His debut album “Perception” (Basho) featuring his sextet with Stan Sulzmann (saxophones), John Parricelli (guitar), Phil Donkin (bass), Martin France (drums) and Ben Bryant (percussion). was nominated for Best Album in the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 and has been critically acclaimed at home and abroad. His 2009 release "Blues Vignette" (Basho) featured both solo piano and work with his new trio with Yuri Goloubev (bass) and James Maddren (drums). The album has been universally praised as "sublime", "flawless", "impressive" "a marker that few others are likely to equal". His most recent solo album "Good Days at Schloss Elmau" on the prestigious ACT label was nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2011 and has been lauded as "dazzlingly fresh", "world class", "stupendous" "phenomenal" "a cause for huge celebration". His collaborative band The Impossible Gentlemen with Mike Walker (guitar), Steve Swallow (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums) whose album of the same name was released in June 2011 on Basho has been described as "nothing short of sensational". In 2012 his second album on ACT "Lighthouse" with Tim Garland (reeds) and Asaf Sirkis (drums) was released to critical acclaim. His latest project for ACT featuring The City of London Sinfonia will be released next year.
Winner of the Perrier Award, BBC Jazz Awards 2005. British Jazz Awards 2005 Gwilym was the first BBC Radio 3 New Generation jazz Artist. He was voted “Jazz Musician of the Year” at the 2007 Parliamentary Jazz Awards (and nominated again in 2010), and nominated for the 2008 BBC Jazz Awards as Best Instrumentalist. His impressive formal education includes Trinity College of Music (London), Chetham’s School of Music (Manchester) – where he studied classical piano, French horn and composition and the Royal Academy of Music (London) where he graduated from the jazz course with first class honours and the coveted 'Principal's Prize' for outstanding achievement. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music where he was recently given the honour of "Associate".
About City of London Sinfonia
The City of London Sinfonia creates dynamic and engaging musical experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. It performs throughout London and the UK in venues ranging from traditional concert halls, to schools and hospitals, alternative venue spaces and diverse community settings. It places its audiences at the heart of everything it does, bringing unforgettable music and cultural events to them.
The performance of 'On a Piece of Tapestry' was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 between 7 and 13 July 2014 and is available as a digital download in MP3 and FLAC formats here.
Gwilym Simcock appears courtesy of ACT Records.
Michael Collins appears courtesy of Chandos Records.