June 29, 2016

Mark Simpson wins Southbank Sky Art Award 2016, for The Immortal

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Mark was born in Liverpool in 1988. In 2006, he became the first ever winner of both the BBC Young Musician and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year Competitions. Now emerged as a major new voice, both as a composer and clarinettist, in 2012 Mark was selected for representation by YCAT and joined the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Scheme.  He went on to embark on a full publishing relationship with Boosey & Hawkes, and in 2014 won a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award. He was also the recipient of the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award, which led to the premiere of a new ensemble work, Lethe, at the Royal Festival Hall, London. In 2015 Mark was appointed Composer in Association with the BBC Philharmonic, a position he will hold for four years.

Mark is currently working with writer Melanie Challenger on Pleasure, a new opera to be premiered by Opera North with performances in Leeds, Liverpool, Aldeburgh and London in 2016. Forthcoming composing projects also include the first of a series of orchestral commissions for the BBC Philharmonic as part of his residency and a new work for the Gould Piano Trio’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 2017, supported through Beyond Borders and the PRS for Music Foundation.

Mark’s recent commissions include Israfel for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and The Immortal, a 35-minute oratorio commissioned with support from Sky Arts Futures Fund and IdeasTap that was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic and Exaudi under Juanjo Mena at the 2015 Manchester International Festival. Of the work, Times critic Richard Morrison said “Mark Simpson’s oratorio The Immortal is the most thrilling new choral work I have heard for years. At 26, what a prospect he is”.

Other recent commissions include sparks, which was premiered at the Last Night of the Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek; Exile for the National Youth Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall; Salvator Mundi for the Choir of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford; Geysir for Britten Sinfonia and Night Music for cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, first performed at the Wigmore Hall, London.  His orchestral work a mirror-fragment received its London premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in April 2013.


Mark Simpson. Image: Kaupo- Kikkas