Thomas Simaku

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Thomas Simaku (born 18 April 1958, Kavajë) is an Albanian-British composer.

Kavajë Municipality in Tirana, Albania

Kavajë is a municipality centrally located in the Western Lowlands region of Albania. It borders Durrës to the north 17 km (11 mi), Tiranë to the east 27 km (17 mi) and Rrogozhinë to the south 15 km (9 mi). To the west lies the Adriatic Sea. Based on the 2011 Census, the municipality had a population of 40,094 inhabitants although the Civil Registry inferred the total number of inhabitants to be 79,556. The overall surface area is 198.81 square kilometres (76.76 sq mi)

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.



Simaku studied composition between the years 1978-1982 at the Academy of Music and Arts of Albania under Tonin Harapi. After graduation he was nominated as Director of Music at the Palace of Culture of Permet, in southern Albania. [1]

Tonin Harapi (1925–1991) was an Albanian composer and teacher. He was born in Shkodër, Albania. He studied composition in Moscow, USSR. He was professor of composition at the Conservatory of Tirana; and the winner of many prizes and titles.

In 1991 Simaku moved to England to study for a PhD in composition with David Blake at the University of York, which he was awarded in 1996. [2]

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

David Blake is an English composer and founder member of the Department of Music at the University of York.

University of York research-intensive plate glass university located in the city of York, England

The University of York is a collegiate plate glass research university, located in the city of York, England. Established in 1963, the campus university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects.

Prizes and awards

Notable prizes and awards that Simaku has won include:

Lionel Robbins British economist

Lionel Charles Robbins, Baron Robbins, was a British economist, and prominent member of the economics department at the London School of Economics. He is known for his leadership at LSE, his proposed definition of economics, and for his instrumental efforts in shifting Anglo-Saxon economics from its Marshallian direction. He is famous for the quote, "Humans want what they can't have."

Leonard Bernstein American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


Simaku's music has been performed throughout the UK and Europe, as well as in North America, Australia and the Far East. In 1995 his work Epitaph for String Orchestra was selected by the International Jury for the ISCM World Music Days in Germany - the first ever Albanian music to be included in this prestigious festival. Subsequently, Simaku's works have been selected by the International Jury at the World Music Days of 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2012.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Other international festivals where his music has been performed include Music Biennale Zagreb, Tanglewood, Avignon, Miami, Cagliari, KlangSpectrum (Austria), Viitasaari (Finland), Innsbruck (Austria), Odense (Denmark), Manchester, York, Birmingham, Automne de Tirana amongst others. In October 2013, Simaku was invited to give a lecture at the 5th Pharos International Contemporary Music Festival in Nicosia, Cyprus, on the genesis and processes involved in his Soliloquy Cycle. [6]

Music Biennale Zagreb is an international festival of contemporary music in Zagreb, Croatia, organized by the Croatian Composers' Society. The Biennale, founded by Milko Kelemen and held every spring of the odd years since 1961, has become one of the most important festivals of contemporary music in Europe.

Avignon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city, about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Miami City in Florida, United States

Miami, officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. The city covers an area of about 56.6 square miles (147 km2), between the Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay on the east; with a 2017 estimated population of 463,347, Miami is the sixth most densely populated major city in the United States. The Miami metropolitan area is home to 6.1 million people and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Miami's metro area is the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S. Miami has the third tallest skyline in the United States with over 300 high-rises, 80 of which stand taller than 400 feet.

Broadcasts of his music include those by Radio-France, BBC-Radio 3, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Austrian, Polish, Croatian, Danish, Portuguese, Hellenic, Swedish, Romanian, Swiss and Icelandic radio stations. Performances of his works include, among others, those given by the Arditti Quartet, Kreutzer Quartet, Quatuor Diotima, English Northern Philharmonia, MusikFabrik, Slovenian Radio-Television Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Amsterdam New Music Ensemble, the New London Orchestra, Goldberg Ensemble, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Phonosphere Musicale, London's Kreutzer Quartet, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Rubinstein Quartet, Copenhagen Sinfonietta, Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, Capricorn Ensemble, Norwegian Medieval Trio, Tyrolean Ensemble of New Music (TICOM), The Duke String Quartet, and Tirana Asmus Ensemble.[ citation needed ]


Simaku's music is published in England by University of York Music Press and Emerson Edition. In 2008 the Kreutzer Quartet recorded a CD of string quartets and solo works by Simaku for Naxos Records. [7]

Selected works

Orchestra and large ensembles

Chamber and solo works


In 2000 Simaku was granted British citizenship, and lives in York with his wife and two daughters. Simaku is a Reader in Composition at the University of York.[ citation needed ]

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  1. Simaku, Thoma; Bobaton. "Thoma Simaku biography". Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  2. "Thomas Simaku". University of York Music Press. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  3. "British Composer Award Winners". British Composer Awards. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  4. "Composition Competition Winners Announced!". The Witold Lutoslawski Society. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  5. "Thomas Simaku wins Lutoslawski Competition". Polskie Radio. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  6. "Soliloquy Cycle – Sweet and/or Sour?". 5th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  7. "Simaku: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3/Soliloquy I-III". Naxos. Retrieved 27 February 2012.