Mark Simpson named as BBC Philharmonic new composer

I'm thrilled to accept this role as Composer in Association with the BBC Philharmonic. To be given the opportunity to develop my work and build a solid relationship with an orchestra of such calibre, over this time period, is a dream. I can't wait for it to begin.Mark Simpson
Date: 26.02.2015     Last updated: 26.02.2015 at 13.00
The BBC Philharmonic has announced Mark Simpson, 26, as its new Composer in Association, starting in September 2015.

The appointment makes him one of the youngest-ever composers to be given a formal role with a major British orchestra, alongside such luminaries as Thomas Adès and Mark-Anthony Turnage who were given big breaks in their twenties.

Mark’s new role will run until 2019. The BBC Philharmonic will programme his existing orchestral works and Mark will compose three new scores during that time, as well as joining the orchestra in high-profile partnership projects, news of which will be announced in coming weeks.

Liverpool-born Mark Simpson is a rising star among today’s British composers. He signed an exclusive publishing agreement with Boosey & Hawkes when he was 24, and was a winner of the BBC Proms Young Composers Competition in 2006. As a talented clarinettist, he is also a former BBC Young Musician and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

He says: “I'm thrilled to accept this role as Composer in Association with the BBC Philharmonic. To be given the opportunity to develop my work and build a solid relationship with an orchestra of such calibre, over this time period, is a dream. I can't wait for it to begin."

Simon Webb, General Manager of the BBC Philharmonic adds: “The BBC Philharmonic proudly champions great British music, and Mark is one of the brightest stars of the new generation of brilliant young composers in the UK. This new role will give Mark the space and time to continue to develop his already distinctive and compelling compositional voice.”

The appointment is part of the BBC Philharmonic’s aim to develop musical talent, with a particular focus on composers and musicians who have lived and studied in the North.

Mark Simpson’s works include 'A mirror-fragment…' performed by orchestras in the UK and Germany, and 'sparks' composed for the opening of the 2012 Last Night of the Proms. Current composing projects include a new work for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra and an opera in collaboration with writer Melanie Challenger.

Mark studied at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and was a member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He studied music at Oxford University and composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has composed for Psappha, Ensemble 10/10, Britten Sinfonia and the National Youth Orchestra, among others. He will continue playing and performing as a clarinettist in addition to his composing activities.

Mark’s role at the BBC Philharmonic is a new one for the orchestra and replaces the previous title of Conductor/Composer, currently held by HK Gruber. The orchestra is supported by Salford City Council.

Notes to Editors

The BBC Philharmonic has a long history working with British composers. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and James MacMillan have both previously held the title of Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic. The orchestra also arranges for students from the RNCM, Salford and Manchester universities to meet and work with international composers.

The BBC Philharmonic is one of the BBC’s six performing groups. It is an internationally renowned ensemble, performing at The Bridgewater Hall Manchester, as well as regular concerts from its home in Salford, and across the North of England, at the BBC Proms and in Europe and the Far East.

The BBC Philharmonic champions British composers, nurtures new talent and works with artists from a range of genres and styles. The orchestra gives over 100 concerts a year, nearly all of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

SM