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‘The evening had begun with a suitably pyrotechnical piece, sparks, by the multi-talented young prodigy Mark Simpson. More originality in a few bars of this than in the entire repertoire of time-worn Last Night rituals’.
Evening Standard / Last Night of the Proms premiere of Sparks commissioned by the BBC / September 2012
'However it was clarinetist Mark Simpson, one-time winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year, who stole the show…. The performances he gave of Berio’s giant Sequenza and Reich’s New York Counterpoint were simply astounding, and made their unfolding logic seem totally convincing.'
The Daily Telegraph / Non Classical Club Night at the Troy Bar in Hoxton / November 2011
‘….a very powerful programme, of huge physicality and violent contrast of shade and dynamic…remarkable and innovative.’
Seen and heard international / Gower Festival / July 2012
At the age of 17 Mark Simpson became the 1st ever winner of both the BBC Young Musician of the Year & BBC Proms/Guardian Young composer of the Year Competitions. The BBC commissioned him to write the opening work for the 2012 Last Night of the Proms.
Born in Liverpool, in 2006 at the age of 17 Mark Simpson became the first ever winner of both the BBC Young Musician and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year Competitions. Now emerging as a major new voice, both as a composer and clarinettist, in 2012 Mark was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and in 2014 won a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award.
Over the last year Mark joined BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artist Scheme, won a Sky Arts Futures Fund bursary and embarked on a full publishing relationship with Boosey & Hawkes. His BBC orchestral commission sparks was premiered at the Last Night of the Proms and a mirror-fragment….received its London premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican. In 2013 commissions included Exile for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall and Salvator Mundi for the Choir of Christchurch Cathedral Oxford at the Newbury Spring Festival.
In February 2014 Britten Sinfonia premiered Mark’s Geysir, scored for the same wind-based ensemble as Mozart’s Gran Partita, in Cambridge and London. Future projects include a Sky Arts Futures Fund commission of a dramatic work for ensemble and voices, an orchestral score for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and an operatic collaboration with writer Melanie Challenger (supported by a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship).
A passionate exponent of new music, during 2013 Mark performs and records the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adam’s Gnarly Buttons with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and took part in the Julian Anderson Day at Wigmore Hall. Over the last year he has given recitals at major venues and festivals including the Royal Festival Hall, the Cheltenham, Spitalfields and Ryedale Festivals with premieres of works by Simon Holt, Jonathan Harvey and Edmund Finnis. In 2011 his debut CD was released on the NMC label including especially commissioned works by Mark Anthony Turnage, Gary Carpenter, David Horne, Kenneth Hesketh, Gavin Higgins, Emily Howard and Stephen Pratt.
As a soloist Mark has appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Vassily Petrenko), Northern Sinfonia (Yan Pascal Tortelier), BBC Philharmonic (Gianandrea Noseda), City of London Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra and Northern Chamber Orchestra, among many others. Concert appearances include recitals at major venues and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the Cheltenham, Lammermuir, Spitalfields and Ryedale Festivals, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, BeethovenFest in Bonn, and Denver Colorado as a Lakewood Music Scholar.
Mark has had his compositions performed by leading orchestras and ensembles including the National Youth Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aronowitz Ensemble and the Meiningen Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Composition Award for which he wrote Lethe for trombone and ensemble performed at the Royal Festival Hall.
Mark read Music at St. Catherine’s College Oxford graduating with first class honours. In 2012 he completed an MMus in composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He studied clarinet with Nicholas Cox at the Junior School of the Royal Northern College of Music and now studies privately with Mark van der Wiel.