Thomas Simaku has been awarded the 1st Prize of the International Competition for Lutoslawski’s 100th birthday, for his Concerto for Orchestra. The winning composition will receive its world premiere at the final concert of the 2013 Warsaw Autumn International Festival.
The official results of the Composition Competition for Witold Lutoslawski’s 100th Birthday were announced following a press conference held on Monday 24th of June at the Concert Hall of PWM Edition in Warsaw. The jury, consisting of Luca Francesconi, Kazimierz Kord, Magnus Lindberg, Steven Stucky, Paweł Szymaánski and Tadeusz Wielecki, chose Simaku’s work from 160 compositions submitted from 37 different countries. The Concerto for Orchestra will receive its world premiere at the final concert of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival on 28 September 2013. The 10 000 Euro prize is founded by The Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Bogdan Zdrojewski.
Simaku’s music has been reaching audiences all over Europe and the USA 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 for nine ISCM World Music Days, including the 2012 Festival in Belgium. Other international festivals include Huddersfield, Tanglewood, Miami, Zagreb-Biennale, Weimar, Rome, Istanbul, Alicante (Spain), Innsbruck (Austria), November Music Festival (Holland) and Viitassari (Finland). Prestigious awards include the First Prize of the Serocki International Competition (2004), Leverhulme Fellowship, and a three-year fellowship from Arts & Humanities Research Council in London. In 2009, Simaku received a British Composer Award from BASCA for his work Soliloquy V – Flauto Acerbo, which the judging panel described as ‘visionary and entirely original’.
Thomas Simaku is a Reader in Composition at the University of York, and he writes:’This piece would best be described as a voyage in time, where ancient and modern aspects of utterance – musical or otherwise – interconnect and complement each other. It is therefore in this sense of being in concordance – in concert – that the term concerto is metaphorically used here; in other words, a network of relationships between various idiomatic aspects of the musical language is in place and operates throughout the work. The orchestra here is considered as the ideal instrument for bringing this process into life. Each of the four orchestral compartments is embodied with specific musical ideas, and they are in turn singled out by being texturally highlighted for their powerful and/or delicate expressive qualities. But at the same time, the orchestral groups constantly interact with one another, and in a wider context, their modus operandi could well be termed as searching for points of convergence between various orchestral colours, whilst holding on to their own identity. During this process of ‘zooming in and out’, as it were, various instruments form their own ‘alliances’ within this huge sonic palette called orchestra. The work ends with an array of natural harmonics constantly cascading against a background of humanly breathy sounds.’