Posted on 8 October 2020
Professor Thomas Simaku has collaborated with the Paris-based Quatuor Diotima for more than a decade now; and his collaboration with the British pianist Joseph Houston, now based in Berlin, began when Houston was an undergraduate at York.
The string quartets Nos. 4 & 5 were written especially for Quatuor Diotima who premiered them at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2011 and 2015 respectively. Catena I for solo piano received its premiere at the 2019 Moderne Muziek Nijmegen Festival in The Netherlands, Hommage à Kurtág was premiered in Barcelona, whereas L’image oubliée d’après Debussy was commissioned by the York Late Music Series 2018 to mark Debussy's centenary. The musicians come together in the piano quintet, con-ri-sonanza – Bill Colleran in Memoriam, which was also premiered at the 2019 Moderne Muziek Nijmegen Festival. The works were all composed in the last decade and are interconnected at various levels, as are the sonic qualities embedded in the title of the CD: consonanza, risonanza, con risonanza.
Thomas Simaku’s music has been reaching audiences across Europe, USA, and further afield for some thirty years, and it has been awarded a host of accolades for its expressive qualities and its unique blend of intensity and modernism. Major works include Concerto for Orchestra – the winning work of the Lutosławski Prize (2013), The Scream for String Orchestra (2017) based on the iconic painting by Munch, and a cycle of highly virtuosic solo pieces for various instruments – his Soliloquy V Flauto Acerbo received a BASCA Award, which the judging panel described as ‘visionary and entirely original’.
This project was made possible by a substantial grant from the PRS Foundation Composers’ Fund in association with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and support from The University of York Music Department and the Heslington Foundation. All the works were recorded in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall of the University of York in December 2019 under the supervisions of the composer and sound engineer and producer Christian Starke.