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Borletti-Buitoni Trust

At such a crucial stage in my development as a musician, the support of the BBT is a life line. It has given me the chance to fulfil vital things necessary for my career that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do. Most importantly, was the chance to build a really fantastic website that brings together all the strands of my musical identity, as composer and performer. I've been able to purchase scores and music that I wouldn't have been able to. And there are many other things that have helped to ease my life, and increase my productivity that I am truly grateful for. It's an honour to be chosen as a BBT artist and a dream come true.

Mark Simpson"

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, in 2012 Mark was selected 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.

During 2015 Mark’s new work commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and a dramatic work for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra (supported by Sky Arts Futures Fund, in association with IdeasTap) are premiered in Glasgow and Manchester.   As a performer Mark takes part in concerts at the Aldeburgh International Festival and appears as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms.  Future projects include an operatic collaboration with writer Melanie Challenger (supported by a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship).   

Between 2012-2014 Mark's commissions included sparks which was premiered at the Last Night of the Proms, Exile for the National Youth Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall and Geysir for Britten Sinfonia.  His orchestra work a mirror-fragment… received its London premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican.   

A passionate exponent of new music, during 2013 Mark performed and recorded the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adams' Gnarly Buttons with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and took part in the Julian Anderson Day at Wigmore Hall.   

Mark read Music at St. Catherine’s College Oxford and completed an MMus in composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Photographs by Kaupo Kikkas

  • Website
  • Purchase of scores and music books
  • Purchase of new computer
  • Writing Darkness Moves for solo clarinet
  • Videoing Darkness Moves for online world premiere
  • French lessons
  • Purchase of office furniture
  • Supporting Debut CD for NMC Recordings
  • Assistance with purchase of a new clarinet
Night Music

Night Music

Mark Simpson: Night Music (start) Leonard Elschenbroich cello | Alexei Grynuk piano

Mark Simpson: Barkham Fantasy (excerpt) Richard Uttley piano

Mark Simpson: Ariel (end) Mercury Quartet

Comprising eight new-to-CD works, composed between 2006 and 2014, NMC’s survey of Mark Simpson as composer features all the artists for whom these particular works were written.  Mark himself appears in his dual role of composer and clarinettist on two of the works.

See NMC’s Mark Simpson Music Map here

Night Music (2014)
Ariel (2009)
Barkham Fantasy (2009)
Echoes and Embers (2012)
Lov(escape) (2006)
Windflower (2013)
Un Regalo (2004)
Nur Musik (2008)

Nicholas Daniel | Jonathan Small oboes
Mark Simpson clarinet
Leonard Elschenbroich | Guy Johnston cellos
Ian Buckle | Alexei Grynyuk  | Víkingur Ólafsson | Richard Uttley pianos
Mercury Quartet
Ensemble 10/10 | Clark Rundell

Released May 2016
NMC D225 | CD Download


Mark Simpson plays his first-ever work for solo clarinet
Inspired by the visceral poetry of Belgian Henri Michaux, Darkness Moves was commissioned with funds from his Borletti Buitoni Trust fellowship.  Mark chose to premiere it online on 25 October 2016 on the BBT website. It was filmed at Quilter Hall, courtesy of Wells Cathedral School, and the music is performed with the kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Mark writes about the work:
"The poetry of Henri Michaux is a truly visceral, oftentimes frightening even euphoric experience. Bodies are contorted, dismembered, writhing; and thoughts of dark, nightmarish images invite you to the furthest extremities of the human imagination.
"I wanted to try and capture the essence of this musically with this eight-minute work for solo clarinet. I used the brilliant anthology of his work Darkness Moves, compiled by David Bell, to form a framework to approaching this piece. With these images and a general sense of the atmosphere of what I wanted I wrote Darkness Moves at the clarinet in a kind of half-improvisation.
"The work falls into two large sections. The first is otherworldy, slow, undulating, slimy and dirty. It uses fractured melodies and glissandos that don’t seem to quite ever take shape and are distorted by wild out-bursts leading to wild, nightmarish hyperactive wails and screams.
"The second part is fleeting, hurried and blurred. It ends in a wild, brutal, but ultimately euphoric climax that gradually and quite suddenly decays into the ether, almost as if the whole experience itself, were some kind of dream or hallucination."

Darkness Moves bears the dedication "To Franco and Ilaria, with thanks to the Borletti-Buitoni Trust."

The score for Darkness Moves is available for paid download from Boosey & Hawkes here.


Mark Simpson talks about his new solo clarinet work
Darkness Moves, receiving its world premiere online from 25 October 2016 on, explores the extreme range of Mark Simpson’s own instrument.  His first-ever work for solo clarinet goes from the highest pitches to lowest (getting lower than a clarinet’s normal range) and from the quietest to the loudest, in a work inspired by the imagination of Henri Michaux.


Mark Simpson’s Composer Debut on NMC
BBT Fellowship winner 2014, Mark Simpson reflects on his dual life as composer and performer as we join him at a recording session in September 2015 for his debut NMC disc as a composer. In addition to exploring how the process of recording can enhance music making, Graham Johnston’s film also features artists for which Mark Simpson composed his Windflower (oboist Nicholas Daniel), Barkham Fantasy (pianist Richard Uttley) and Ariel (Mercury Quartet).

Listen to CD extracts here

Artist Website

General Management: Clarinet/Conductor

Lucy Saunders at Intermusica
telephone: +44 20 7608 9936

General Management: Composition

Hannah Waddell at Boosey & Hawkes
telephone: +44 20 7054 7256