Thomas Simaku wins BASCA award

Posted on 3 December 2009

This year's winner of the British Composers' Award in the category of Instrumental Solo or Duo is Thomas Simaku. His piece, Soliloquy V Flauto Acerbo, is for for alto and tenor recorders, and was composed during the summer of 2008.

This year's winner of the British Composers' Award in the category of Instrumental Solo or Duo is Thomas Simaku. His piece, Soliloquy V Flauto Acerbo, is for for alto and tenor recorders, and was composed during the summer of 2008. It was commissioned by Christopher Orton with funds provided by the BBC Performing Arts Fund. The judges '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.'

Of the composition, Simaku writes that: 'As the first part of the title suggests, the piece belongs to a series of works for solo instruments. After the première of Soliloquy I at the 2000 ISCM Festival, the idea of composing a cycle of solo pieces – the aim was to create different characters within the same protagonist who 'narrates' in different languages, as it were – materialized itself. So far, this is the fifth work in the series (the first three are for string instruments, and the fourth is for Bass Clarinet).

With each piece, the soloistic idea operates on a different instrumental canvas and is elaborated according to the expressive qualities and the technical potentiality of each instrument. In this work, the linear contours based on 'white modality' but constantly 'surrounded' by chromatic and microtonal inflections, as well as the contrapuntal dynamism and the variety of textural formats stemming from it, are at the heart of the musical discourse. The idiosyncratic quality of this work is to be found perhaps in the second part of the title, Flauto Acerbo!'