THOMAS SIMAKU (b 1958 )
Multi-award-winning composer Thomas Simaku graduated from the Tirana Conservatoire (1983), and gained a PhD in composition from the University of York (1996) where he studied with David Blake. Simaku was the 1996 Leonard Bernstein Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood, US studying with Bernard Rands, and a fellow at the 1998 Composers’ Workshop, California State University with Brian Ferneyhough.
Simaku’s music has been reaching audiences across Europe, the US and further afield for more than two decades, and it has been awarded a host of accolades for its expressive qualities and its unique blend of intensity and modernism. His works have been selected by international juries in no less than nine editions of ISCM World Music Days, and has featured at international festivals including Huddersfield, Tanglewood, Miami, Muzički Biennale Zagreb, Weimar, Munich, Rome, Viitassari (Finland), Beijing, Innsbruck (Austria) and Warsaw Autumn among others. Performed by renowned soloists, ensembles and orchestras, his music has been broadcast worldwide on radio stations such as BBC Radio 3, SWR2, MDR, Deutschlandfunk (Cologne), Amsterdam Radio 4, ORF (Austria), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), RNE (Spain) and RTP (Portugal) among others.
His album of String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 (8.570428: Naxos 21st Century Classics series, 2008) received much critical acclaim. Prestigious awards include the coveted Lionel Robbins Memorial Scholarship in 1993, First Prize at the 2004 Kazimierz Serocki International Composer’s Competition, a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and a three-year fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in London. In 2009 Simaku received a British Composer Award for Soliloquy V – Flauto Acerbo. With this work he represented the UK at the 2012 ISCM Festival in Belgium. In 2013 he won First Prize at the International Composition Competition for Witold Lutosławski’s 100th Birthday with Concerto for Orchestra, chosen from 160 compositions submitted anonymously from 37 countries.
His most recent work, The Scream for string orchestra, based on the iconic painting by Edvard Munch, received its world premiere on 17 November 2017 given by the BBC Concert Orchestra at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. Thomas Simaku holds a senior position as reader in composition at the University of York. © UYMP 2017
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