Gwilym Simcock is one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the European scene. He moves effortlessly between jazz and classical music, with a 'harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions'. Gwilym has been hailed as a pianist of 'exceptional', 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' ability, and his music has been widely acclaimed as 'engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex yet hugely accessible', and above all 'wonderfully optimistic'.
Gwilym's influences are wide ranging, from jazz legends including Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny, to classical composers including Maurice Ravel, Henri Dutilleux, Béla Bartók and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Although principally a jazz artist, Gwilym has composed numerous works for larger Classical ensemble that combine through-composed elements with improvisation, creating a sound that is distinctive and very much his own.
In the last few years, Gwilym has become renowned for his solo performances, releasing a critically acclaimed album 'Good Days at Schloss Elmau' in 2011 and touring throughout Europe and to places as far afield as Australia, the USA, Canada, Korea and China to name but a few.
Gwilym has toured extensively with the cream of British and international jazz artists including Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Bob Mintzer and Bobby McFerrin. He co-leads the Anglo-American Supergroup 'The Impossible Gentlemen' with British Guitar legend Mike Walker, Steve Rodby and Adam Nussbaum. He also tours with Classical virtuoso Nigel Kennedy, with whom he is writing a programme of new music in the near future.
Gwilym's career is unique in spanning a huge range of musical settings. Testament to this is the fact that he was the first BBC New Generation Artist from a Jazz background, and that his album "Good Days at Schloss Elmau" was an album of the year in 2011 at the prestigious British music award the 'Barclaycard Mercury Prize'. He has performed with orchestras, choirs, big bands, dancers as well as performing with musicians from diverse backgrounds including the classical, jazz, folk and rock traditions. Gwilym has also written music that has appeared on television and on stage, most recently composing the music for an adaptation of Edward Albee's classic 'A Delicate Balance' at the Almeida theatre in London. He has frequently appeared on British television and radio and was guest presenter on 'Saturday Classics' on BBC Radio 3, and recently mentored and accompanied the finalists at the first BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year awards on BBC4 TV.
Gwilym has led and recorded a variety of different projects. His debut album "Perception" was nominated for Best Album in the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 and has been critically acclaimed at home and abroad. Subsequent albums have featured various projects, and have been universally praised with reviews citing his work as "sublime", "flawless", "impressive" "a marker that few others are likely to equal".
Awards include 'Best Band' at the Perrier Award, 'Rising Star' at the BBC Jazz Awards and the British Jazz Awards, and both "Jazz Musician of the Year" and "Best Band" (with The Impossible Gentlemen) at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. His impressive formal education includes Trinity College of Music (London), Chetham's School of Music (Manchester) – where he studied classical Piano, French Horn and composition - and the Royal Academy of Music (London) where he graduated from the jazz course with first class honours and the coveted 'Principal's Prize' for outstanding achievement. Gwilym is Professor of Jazz Piano at the Royal Academy of Music, and is very much in demand for his teaching and masterclasses. .
Recent and forthcoming Projects include:
2006-8 BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist – the first ever jazz artist to be appointed to the scheme. This resulted in numerous radio appearances as a solo pianist and with his the Gwilym Simcock Trio.
A tour and commission with The Scottish Ensemble (Chamber Orchestra), 2007 broadcast on July 1st 2007 on BBC Radio Scotland and again on BBC Radio 3 on October 12th.
A Big Band project in Cheltenham Jazz Festival, 2007 broadcast on BBC Radio on 1st June 2007
Guest soloist on Mark Antony Turnage's new commission with London Sinfonietta for the re-opening of the South Bank Complex at Queen Elizabeth Hall, June 2007
Klavier Festival Ruhr – solo concert performance and live recording - Gwilym chosen by Chick Corea, June 2007. This concert was be broadcast on WDR radio and 20,000 copies were given away as a covermount CD in Germany's leading music magazine FONOFORUM.
Appearance at the 2007 North Sea Jazz Festival
A commission and major tour of Cathedrals with Acoustic Triangle and Sacconi Strings in 2008
Gwilym on the front cover of the August 2007 issue of the UK's leading Jazz journal JAZZWISE
Debut album "Perception" released on 5th November 2007 and tour dates in November, December 2007 and Spring/Summer 2008.
A commission for a new work for the Aronowitz Ensemble at the City of London Festival in July 2008.
A major commission for new work with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the BBC PROMS on August 9th 2008.
A 2006 commission and recording for piano concerto with big band with the NDR Big Band in Germany and performed and toured again with the NDR in January 2009 and April 2009 where the final appearance wasl at the major jazz conference JazzAhead.
A major commission for new work for the 40th anniversary of Chetham's School on March 8th 2009 at the Bridgewater Hall.
A major choral commission "Tales of Freedom" for Norfolk an Norwich Festival
Appearance at the 2009 Proms on 31st August 2009 with the Aronowitz Ensemble performing his own piece "Contours" originally commission by the City of London Festival in July 2008
2009 UK and Far East Tour with Tim Garland's Lighthouse Trio.
Ongoing European and UK dates with the Gwilym Simcock Trio and the recording of a new album due for release in late 2009 followed by a European and UK Tour.
Orchestral work for The Hague Festival, The Hague, Netherlands
"Simple Tales" for Britten Sinfonia soloists, UK and Poland
"Confluence" Cheltenham Music Festival commission- work for piano and string Quartet
New Big Band Work for NDR Big Band, Germany
Commission for classical/jazz ensemble for Leasowes Bank Festival, UK
"Good Days at Schloss Elmau" on ACT - Barclaycard Mercury album of the year
Commission for London Vocal Project for London Jazz Festival 2011
Move! New work for City of London Sinfonia April 2012
New album on ACT with LIGHTHOUSE - Simcock/Garland/Sirkis
"Cumbrian Thaw" for London Symphony Orchestra strings
New Album "Internationally Recognised Aliens" with Impossible Gentlemen (Basho)
BBC Scottish Symphony Recording of "Cumbrian Thaw" and "Move!"
Duo album with Yuri Goloubev "Reverie at Schloss Elmau" (ACT)
New album "Instrumation" with City of London Sinfonia (ACT)
"On a Piece of Tapestry" New PRS Commission for Michael Collins and The City of London Sinfonia for South Bank and Commonwealth Games
Week's residency at the Spoleto Festival in North Carolina
"Gwilym's an original. A creative genius" Chick Corea
"I feel confident that Simcock already deserves to occupy the inner circle of the great contemporary pianists along with Mehldau, Jarrett, and Rubalcaba" David Kane, Cadence U.S.A.
"This album has all the ingredients that signify the start of what has already promised to be a dazzling career". Mark-Anthony Turnage
"If this is just the beginning, the coming years defy imagining". John Fordham, The Guardian(of Gwilym's album Perception 16th Nov 2007)
"Simcock is one of the great jazz players of the day. He's British, and it'll be interesting to hear classical music influenced by jazz. And then he's a real cat playing his own stuff as well. That'll be cool, man." Nigel Kennedy, Radio Times
"Rarely was any British pianist tipped for stardom more confidently than Gwilym Simcock" Evening Standard CD of the Week
"a jaw-droppingly exciting pianist"
James Griffiths, The Guardian
"…I'll be watching our finest young piano-player Gwilym Simcock - don't miss him while you can still see him in venues without ushers". Jamie Cullum, The Guardian
"This … pianist is exceptional, as both player and composer." The Observer
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