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Award-winning Composer returns to Hope

Mark Simpson Thursday 14 April 2016

Accomplished composer Mark Simpson returns to Hope as he prepares for the debut of his Opera Pleasure.

The clarinettist has spent a week holed up in a practice room in the Capstone Theatre composing a piece that will premiere at the Edinburgh Festival and be performed at the Salzburg Festival.

Mark, who at 17 became the first-ever BBC Young Musician of the Year, has strong ties with the University and has been borrowing one of Hope’s pianos while overseeing final preparations for Pleasure’s opening night at the Liverpool Playhouse.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Mark’s first forays into composing came at 14 when he was involved in an outreach workshop run by Manchester ensemble Psappha.

A piece he produced went on to debut at Hope’s Great Hall in the Cornerstone Building, and Mark formed a strong bond with Emeritus Professor Stephen Pratt. The former Music Lecturer became a mentor for the school boy, providing advice and guidance, as well as a composing partner.

Mark said: “I knew from a young age this is what I wanted to do, and over the years Hope and Stephen have been very supportive.

“I really appreciate the University providing me with the space to shut myself away and get work done.”

Mark’s latest production - Hommage à Kurtág - has been commissioned by the Salzburg Festival and is written for clarinet, viola and piano.

The seven-minute piece is expected to take around a month to compose and will be performed by Mark alongside Antoine Tamestit and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.  

Pleasure will be performed at the Liverpool Playhouse on Wednesday 4th May. 

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