Thomas Simaku (b. 1958) gained a PhD in Composition at the University of York (1991-96) where he studied with David Blake. Winner of the coveted Lionel Robbins Memorial Scholarship in 1993 (Simaku was the only candidate in the UK to win the award that year), he also was the 1996 Leonard Bernstein Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood Music Centre in the USA studying with Bernard Rands, and a fellow at the Composers' Workshop, California State University (1998), with Brian Ferneyhough.
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.
Winner of a number of prestigious awards such as Serocki International Prize and Lutoslawski Award, a three-year fellowship from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, Leverhulme Fellowship, DAAD Award at the ‘Hanns Eisler’ Academy in Berlin, University of York Anniversary Lectureship Award, Honorable Award from the Accademia di Lettere, Arti e Scienze in Rome and Honourable Mention at the Musical Personalities International Competition - Alexander Tansman. His CD portrait was released in 2008 on Naxos 21st Century Classics series and has received much critical acclaim. It reached the Best of Year list in the USA, as announced by the prestigious America Magazine Fanfare.
Thomas Simaku was the winner of the 2009 British Composer Award from BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors) with his work Soliloquy V – Flauto Acerbo. The judging panel ‘unanimously agreed that the winning work redefines the instrument in a visionary and entirely original way. They praised it for its virtuosity, depth of expression, and powerful imagination.'
In 2013 he was awarded the first prize of the International Competition for Lutosławski’s 100 Birthday. Simaku’s award-winning Concerto for Orchestra, chosen from 160 compositions submitted anonymously from 37 countries, received its world premiere by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra at the final concert of the 2013 Warsaw Autumn International Festival.
Notable performances include, among others, those given by the Arditti Quartet, Kreutzer Quartet, Diotima Quatuor, English Northern Philharmonia, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Slovenian Radio-Television Orchestra, Amsterdam New Music Ensemble, Goldberg Ensemble, Tokyo Phonosphere Musicale, Copenhagen Sinfonietta, Insomnio Ensemble, Capricorn, Norwegian Medieval Trio, New Music Players, Concorde, and Austrian 'Ticom' Ensemble. Internationally renowned soloists such as Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Rohan de Saram, Neil Heyde, Garth Knox, Noriko Kawai, Ian Pace, Carlos Galvez, Sarah Leonard, Sarah Watts, Joseph Houston et al. have performed his solo pieces. Most recently, his Klang Inventions was performed by Klngforum Wien.
Simaku's works have been performed throughout Europe, as well as in North America and the Far East, in festivals such as the ISCM World Music Days (‘95, ’99, ‘00, ‘01, ‘03, ‘04, ’05, ‘06 and '12), Huddersfield, Tanglewood, Avignon, Miami, Zagreb Biennale, Birmingham, Munich, Rome, Cagliari, Cologne, Weimar, Prague, Odense (Denmark), KlangSpectrum (Austria), Viitassari (Finland), etc. Broadcasts of his music include those by BBC Radio 3, Radio-France, ORF (Austria), SWR2 (Stuttgart), Deutschlandfunk (Cologne), MDR, ABC (Australia), Brazilian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Hellenic, Icelandic, Irish, Israeli, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Swiss national radio stations.
In 2018 Thomas Simaku received a PRSF Award from the Composers Fund, which will contribute substantially towards the cost of recording and producing a new CD with the Swedish Label BIS Records, to be released in 2020.