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Simon Wilkins began learning the cello in his first year at junior school aged seven. His interest in music grew from this time, and as well as taking piano lessons, Simon began to engage with music as an academic discipline. In 1999 he began taking lessons from Michael Mace, gaining his Diploma in 2005, and during his time as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway, University of London was taught by Ben Davies. He gained a 2:1 for the Bachelor’s Degree in Music (BMus), including a First for the Special Study in Performance course, and as a result has decided to remain there to study for a Master’s degree. In addition to giving solo recitals, Simon performs with several ensembles at Royal Holloway, and with the University of London Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2008 he participated in a highly successful visit to Hong Kong with this orchestra, joined by world-renowned young soloists Nicola Benedetti and Leonard Elschenbroich. Simon has also worked with Guy Johnston, Julian Lloyd Webber, Victoria Mullova and the Barbican Piano Trio. Between 2001 and 2006 he played with Southampton Youth Orchestra, leading his section in the final year and touring venues in Europe and the United States, including Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Liszt Academy in Budapest. In 2005 he was fortunate enough to join other young musicians from around the country on a course organised by the BBC Proms and contemporary music ensemble Between the Notes, which culminated in a Proms performance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins, broadcast on BBC Four and Radio 3. When not engaged in musical activities Simon enjoys long walks, cooking explosively hot curries, and trying to remember where he left the teapot. He plays on a Goulding instrument made by Thomas Kennedy dating from the early nineteenth century.
Although primarily a performer, Simon has always held an interest in composition. an since his time at sixth-form college he has steadily progressed both in technical competence and in finding an individual voice. In 2006, Simon entered Royal Holloway, University of London as an undergraduate and took composition lessons with Brian Lock and Larry Goves. As a Masters student at the same institution Simon now learns with Mark Bowden, a rising figure and member of the Camberwell Composer's Collective.
Compositional style and influences
Simon draws from a wide range of influences ranging from medieval polyphony to gamelan music. However, his primary influence is the music of twentieth-century and contemporary composers such as Stravinsky, Britten, Sibelius, MacMillan, Bartok and Ligeti. His compositional style varies somewhat depending on the forces of the composition. but in general leans towards a highly chromatic modality coupled with the use of counterpoint. Simon's musical philosophy is to write music that is accessible and acknowledges the art music of history, whilst still being innovative, expressive and modern. The majority of his output up to the current time consists of choral music and several chamber pieces for a variety of instruments both alone and in small ensembles. However, Simon intends to write orchestral pieces and larger scale compositions in the near future. He also takes a keen interest in the art of orchestration, both of his own and others' music, particularly the organ works of J.S. Bach.
Works are organised by 'S' number which are roughly chronological in sequence.
- S.1: March for orchestra (2003)
- S.2: Overture to a Western (2004)
- S.3: Sonata in One Movement for Violoncello and Piano (2004)
- S.4: Prelude for piano solo (2005)
- S.5: Ballade in E minor for violoncello and piano (2005)
- S.6: In Autumn Moonlight for mixed chorus; text by Robert Bridges (2006)
- S.7a: Two Pieces of Film Music: Escape to the Sky" (2006)
- S.7b: Two Pieces of Film Music: House of Terror (2006)
- S.8a: Two movements for string orchestra: Love (2007)
- S.8b: Two movements for string orchestra: Hate (2007)
- S.9: Concerto Grosso (Concerto d'Estate) for chamber ensemble (Ob/ASax/BbCl/Bsn/Hn/Pno/Vln/Vla/Vcl/Cb) (2007)
- S.10: Prelude, Sarabande and Finale for viola or violoncello solo (2008)
Choral and vocal
- S.11: Ave Maria for mixed chorus in eight parts (2008)
- S.12: She Walks in Beauty for mixed chorus; text by Lord Byron (2008)
- S.13: Benedic Domine for SATTB chorus, two trumpets and organ (2008, rev. 2009)
- S.14: A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour for mixed chorus; text by Ben Jonson (2008)
- S.20: If Ye Love Me (after Tallis) for AATB choir and SSATB wordless choir (2008)
- S.21: White Darkness, song for soprano solo and percussion ensemble; text by the composer (Mar/Vibes/T-t/B.D./T.bells)
- The Snowfall for SSAATTBB choir, SSAA soloists and optional trebles (in progress)
Chamber and instrumental
- S.18: Arbitrarisms, six miniatures for string quartet (2008):
1.Lento; 2.Vivace: 3.Adagio molto; 4.Andante; 5.Maestoso; 6.Allegro molto
- S.19: Iljanne for Bb clarinet solo (2008)
- S.23: Camerae Legnose for harpsichord solo (2009):
1.Toccata; 2.Chorali; 3.Esibirso banale"
- S.24: Sinfonie for organ solo (in progress)
- S.26: The Arboretum, nonet (Fl/Ob/BbCl/Hp/Vibes/Vln/Vln/Vla/Vcl) (2009)
- S.27: Alcyone, duet for violoncello and flute (2009)
- Nocturne for clarinet, viola and piano (in progress)
- Elegy in Memoriam Eduard Tubin for brass ensemble (in progress)
Arrangements and orchestrations
- S.15a: J.S. Bach: Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes Sohn BWV 601 for orchestra (2222 42211 timp str) (2008)
- S.15b: J.S. Bach: Prelude in B Minor, BWV 869 for orchestra (in progress)
- S.16: J.S. Bach: Fugue in E, BWV 854 for string trio (2008)
- S.22: A. Bruckner: Prelude in D minor for string orchestra (2009)
- S.25: A. Dvorak: In the Old Castle, Op.85 No.3 for orchestra (2222 22 timp hp str)
- J.S. Bach: 'Little' Fugue in G minor, for orchestra (in progress)
Personal contact information
Known as siwi on the forum, and sometimes writes under the pen name Sarepava.