Albanian-born British composer Thomas Simaku (b. 1958) studied composition at the Tirana Conservatoire (1978-82) and the University of York (1991-96) where he was awarded a PhD in Composition, studying 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 over a decade, and it has been awarded a host of accolades for its highly expressive qualities and its unique blend of drama, intensity and modernism.
Notable performances include, among others, those given by the Kreutzer Quartet, Arditti Quartet, English Northern Philharmonia, European Union Chamber Orchestra, MusikFabrik, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, the New London Orchestra, Amsterdam New Music Ensemble, Goldberg Ensemble, Tokyo Phonosphere Musicale, Insomnio Ensemble, Capricorn Ensemble, Norwegian Medieval Trio, New Music Players, Concorde (Dublin) and Austrian 'Ticom' Ensemble. Internationally renowned soloists such as Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Noriko Kawai, Rohan de Saram, Garth Knox, Ian Pace and Madeleine Shapiro have performed his solo pieces.
Simaku's works have been performed in festivals such as ISCM ('95, '99, 00, '01, '03, '04, '05, '06), Huddersfield, Rome, Venice, Tanglewood, Miami, Manchester, Zagreb Biennale, Munich Biennale, Cagliari, Odense (Denmark), KlangSpectrum (Austria), Viitassari (Finland), etc. Broadcasts of his music include those by the BBC Radio 3, Radio-France, ORF (Austria), SWR2, MDR, ADR (Germany), RDP Portugal, ABC (Australia), Swedish, Polish, Hellenic, Danish, Israeli, Croatian, Swiss, Icelandic and Brazil national radio stations. A concert-portrait featuring his music took place at the 2003 Begegnungen Internationale Konzertserie in Innsbruck, Austria. In 2000 he was granted British citizenship and now lives in York with his wife and two daughters.
Winner of a number of prestigious awards such as Serocki International Prize and Lutoslawski Award, AHRC Fellowship, Leverhulme Research Fellowship, DAAD Award, and Honourable Mention at the Musical Personalities International Competition - Alexander Tansman 2006, Simaku is a lecturer in composition at the University of York.
His CD on Naxos 21st Century Classics series, released in May 2008, has been met with much critical acclaim.