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Gwilym Simcock

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Biography of Gwilym Simcock

Just 29, Gwilym Simcock is one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers working on British scene. Able to move effortlessly between jazz and classical music, he can, at times, inhabit both worlds and has been described as being stylistically reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, complete with ‘harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions’ as well as being a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability.

Gwilym’s influences include jazz legends Jarrett, Chick Corea and John Taylor and much inspiration is taken from the classical world, especially the work of Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky as well as contemporary composers such as Mark-Anthony Turnage who fuse together written and improvised music. Although principally a jazz artist, Gwilym is breaking new ground between genres and often uses classical reference points in his composed work - he recently devised a solo piano project using the piano works of Shostakovich as a starting point and in 2005 premiered a piano concerto especially written for him by Tim Garland.

Aside from his renowned solo piano work, Gwilym has worked extensively throughout Europe playing with the cream of British and international jazz artists including Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks and Bob Mintzer among others. His own groups as a leader range from trio to big band to a 40-piece ensemble featuring a gospel choir and strings. His composing and playing strengths in are evidence in every dimension of the music for his quintet which features Stan Sulzmann (saxophones), John Parricelli (guitar), Phil Donkin (bass) and Martin France (drums). This band has been critically and widely acclaimed as ‘engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex and wonderfully optimistic’.

A previous winner of the Perrier Award, BBC Jazz and British Jazz Rising Star Awards and participant in Take Five – the UK’s unique artist development initiative, Gwilym is currently a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist – the first jazz artist to be selected. He has an impressive formal education which includes stints at the 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.

Winner 2007 "Jazz Musician of the Year" Parliamentary Jazz Awards

BBC Radio 3 New Generations Artist 2006-8

Winner 2005 Rising Star BBC Jazz Awards

Winner 2005 Rising Star British Jazz Awards

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