February 8, 2017
Some wonderful and exciting news became public recently; I'm delighted and humbled to share that I've been named the receipient of the 2017 Toronto Emerging Composer Award. I'm very excited to work on my project for large chamber ensemble with electric guitar and electronics, which will be premiered in the spring of 2018 with Caution Tape Sound Collective. I've been wanting to write this piece for a very long time, and am so happy to finally have the opportunity!
I have a few concerts coming up; the first is the premiere of Barycentre with the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra, which will take place on February 18, 3:30pm at the Capitol Theatre in Windsor, ON.
On March 11, the Madawaska Quartet will be giving a sneak peak at the first half of my string quartet Swallow/Breathe at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's New Creations Festival. On the same night in Bonita, California, Eric Moore and Tasha Smith Godinez will premiere my piece You: Afterwards, No for speaking cellist and harpist. I'm super stoked for both events and can't wait to hear!
Lastly, the premiere of Everything is... distorted for sextet and electronics will take place on March 25 at The Music Gallery as part of Continuum's PIVOT. I've learned so much working on this piece with Martin Bedard, and I'm very much looking forward to the week of workshopping before its premiere!
January 13, 2017
Happy New Year! I've rung in the new year with a couple of pieces of good news; firstly, I received my first professional commissioning grant through the Toronto Arts Council; the creation grant has allowed me to work on an extremely challenging new string quartet entitled Swallow/Breathe, which utilizes the Newfoundland folk song She's Like the Swallow.
Secondly, for pillars, gone has been chosen as the second place prize winner of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra's Young Composers Competition, which is open to all Canadian composers aged 32 and under. It's a bittersweet victory, as this piece has been recorded and awarded but still not premiered live at a concert venue!
I am also so happy to have been chosen as one of three University of Toronto graduate composers going on an exchange to the Conservatorio G. Tartini in Trieste, Italy. Myself and composers August Murphy-King and Steven Webb will travel to Trieste during the first week of May, where we will each have a piece performed. Swallow/Breathe will recevive its European debut here.
Lastly, I will have a masterclass with one of my absolute favourite composers, Salvatore Sciarrino during his residency at the University of Toronto for the New Music Festival in late January/early February. I am beyond excited to receive feedback from this incredible artist!
November 30, 2016
What a super busy semester at the University of Toronto! Finally catching my breath, and looking forward to a couple of upcoming performances.
First off, I was selected as one of the winners of Verdant Vibes' call-for-scores, which received over 400 entries. My piece for mixed sextet bud will be performed at their concert Winter Warmer on Sunday, December 4 2016 at 7:00pm at 999 Main St, Ste 711A, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Next up is a new arrangement of my piece wires at rest (tend to tangle), originally for harp and cello, to be premiered in its new form by cellist Paul Pulford and pianist Cheryl Duvall at the Canadian Music Centre Ontario on January 12 and 13 at 8pm, as well as at the K-W Chamber Music Society on January 11, 2017. This concert also features a performance of Linda Catlin Smith's masterpiece Ballad, as well as works by the fabulous Nick Storring and Michael Vincent Waller.
In other exciting news, Caution Tape Sound Collective has been invited to take part in the Emergents series, which is a curated series at the Music Gallery in Toronto, ON. We will be presenting several of the commissions we've done in the past year, including a remounting of my microtonal electric guitar drone piece impurity chains. We're super stoked to have had our performer, the amazing Andrew Noseworthy, receive a Canada Council travel grant to assist him in attending the concert and kicking some serious guitar ass. This concert is February 4 @ 8pm at the Music Gallery, Toronto, ON.
That's all for now, but more performances are coming up next spring with some fabulous groups both here in Toronto and abroad - stay tuned!
August 20, 2016
It's been a fantastic summer with lots of work done and lots of good news to celebrate!
First of all, I was over the moon to have been included on a list done by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) of 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30! There are some stellar musicians included and I'm honoured to share the list with them.
I was also selected to particpate in PIVOT, a mentoring opportunity organized by the Canadian League of Composers, the Canadian Music Centre, and Continuum Contemporary Music. I'm very excited to work with a mentor composer working in the electroacoustic realm, who will help me write a new piece for Continuum - which, honestly, has been a dream of mine. Artistic director Ryan Scott has been incredibly supportive of emerging composers, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to work with these players and have the opportunity to focus on this piece throughout the next six months.
I'm also happy to say that there are a couple upcoming performances of a new work for amplified solo soprano saxophone and electronics that I wrote for Chelsea Shanoff - a preview (and technical run!) at the Canadian Music Centre on September 9 (coinciding with a welcome reception for new University of Toronto graduate students), and on October 22 @ 8pm during Singles Vol. 2, the first concert of the season for Caution Tape Sound Collective, which will happen at Array Space. Very excited to hear this thing!
Lastly, there are a few American performances of older works, including a performance of Requiem for a Penny by contralto Samantha Stiner at her "Hot off The Press" contemporary music recital, which takes place at the University of Wyoming, September 1st @ 7pm.
June 1, 2016
Feeling creatively refreshed after finishing up Array's Young Composer Workshop! The recording and video for my piece 2 Inverse Motions will be up soon.
I'm gearing up to head to June in Buffalo for a week full of inspiring concerts and masterclasses, with a full schedule available here. I'm still in awe, but the Arditti Quartet will be playing my string quartet Murmuring Bones on June 8 at a concert starting at 10:00am.
While I'm making my way back to Toronto, the wonderful Blythwood Winds will perform my new quintet The Formula at their show "Hogtown Roundup: Toronto Graffiti". Check it out!
May 12, 2016
wires at rest (tend to tangle) will be performed again by Eric Moore and Tasha Smith Godinez at Sparks Gallery in San Diego, CA, on May 29. So nice for this piece to be enjoying the sun on the west coast!
a relic of adolescent heat will also be played on the American west coast; its premiere performance after winning the newly composed category of the 2015 Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition will be by Amy Likar in Orinda, CA. The performance is on September 17 at a house concert venue that will be a benefit for the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.
March 2, 2016
Murmuring Bones will be performed again by Cuatro Puntos, a chamber ensemble that has championed the work in the New England area. They are presenting the piece at a concert called "Lift Her Voice" on March 10, which is part of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford. It's wonderful to be featured alongside so many talented women creators, including fellow Canadian composer Tawnie Olson.
February 21, 2016
My short, melodramatic piece for solo voice Olive Oil is being programmed on the Thursday, February 25 concert of a very small consortium, a performance group based at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay that focuses on the performance of miniatures. The piece was programmed after a competetive call-for-scores process.
February 17, 2016
I'm delighted to have received a new commission from Eric Moore and Tasha Smith Godinez through CelloLoft's call-for-scores. The premiere is tentatively scheduled for the 2017 World Harp Congress in Hong Kong (and in San Diego if not!) Eric and Tasha are also giving my piece wires at rest (tend to tangle) a second performance at the very cool Lou Harrison's House in Joshua Tree, California, on Sunday February 21.
I have a number of premieres coming up this spring, notably with the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble under the fabulous Dr. Gillian MacKay on Saturday, March 19, 2016, where they will be performing my extremely challenging piece amok (as a syndrome), inspired by the music of Fausto Romitelli.
Later that month, my collective Caution Tape Sound Collective will premiere my piece L'appel du vide for cello, accordion, piano, and electronics at the Array Space on Thursday March 24. Very excited to make music with these swell folks!
October 22, 2015
I'm very pleased to announce that a relic of adolescent heat has been selected as the winner of the "Newly Composed" category in the 2015 Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition! Other winners and finalists are listed here. The premiere is tentatively scheduled for the 2016 National Flute Convention in San Diego pending a succesful proposal process. I can't wait to hear it!
October 11, 2015
Super stoked to have been named Composer-in-Residence with the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble! I'm very excited to work with these players, who sounded great on their first concert and are generally one on a part. The premiere, TBD, will be at the end of this academic year or in the Fall term of 2016. Let's flex those large ensemble muscles!!
September 10, 2015
It looks like I have a busy composing season ahead! I'm so happy to be collaborating with a number of fabulous Toronto-based ensembles in the 2015-2016 season. First up, Spectrum percussion quartet will be premiering my piece "Four Miniatures for Percussion Quartet and Soprano" on October 20, 7:00pm at Walter Hall at the University of Toronto. This piece was also selected for Sandbox Percussion's latest call-for-scores and will be performed by them in NYC either this season or next.
"impurity chains" for solo electric guitar and talkbox will be premiered at "Singles", Caution Tape Sound Collective's inaugural concert, performed by the amazing Trevor Babb on October 29 8:00pm at the Array Space, 155 Walnut Ave in Toronto.
My piece for percussion and light-sensitive mini synthesizer "phase:lum" will be performed by Evan Bowen as part of Toronto Laptop Orchestra's premiere concert "Hello World," which is also at the Array space, at 8:00pm on November 19.
In the spring, I will have another premiere with Caution Tape Sound Collective on our March 24 concert, my first piece as a full-fledged member of the Toy Piano Composers, and a new wind quintet for Blythwood Winds. Stay tuned for more details and updates!
August 13, 2015
I'm immensely honoured to have had my string quartet “Murmuring Bones” selected as one of six works in Canada’s official submission to the international jury of the ISCM 2016 World Music Days. By the end of October, I should know if the international jury has chosen it for performance in South Korea. Fingers crossed!
July 6, 2015
I'm excited to be part of some upcoming endeavours, one as a participating composer and one as a co-artistic director. First up is The Sidenote Concert, where I've written a piece for clarinet, violin, cello, drum kit, and electric bass called "We Occur in Biological Settings!" inspired by a combination of Fibonacci numbers, weird rock music, and Dutch minimalism. Check it out on July 31 with some cold Toronto craft beers at Junction Brewery, 8:00pm!
I'm also excited to announce that myself and August Murphy King have formed Caution Tape Sound Collective, a composer's collective with an emphasis on explorative music that pushes the artistic practice of everyone involved. Our first concert is October 29 at Arrayspace, but I'll post more details closer to the event. Stay tuned!
May 2, 2015
The winner's ceremony was tonight, so I can finally officially announce that I am a winner of a 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award for my composition for mixed sextet, bud. The prize includes $1000 and a month-long exhibition at the provincial art gallery in St. John's. I hope to write a sequel movement to this piece later this year, so stay tuned!
April 6, 2015
I am so happy, excited, and grateful to announce that after being selected as one of three finalists, my new composition for harp and cello, "wires at rest (tend to tangle)" was chosen as the first prize winner of the Costello Composition Competition presented by the Lyra Society. The prize includes $1000 USD and a premiere in Philadelphia, tentatively scheduled for May 15 at the Curtis Institute of Music's Dean's recital. The judges were composers David Ludwig and Jan Krzywicki, and Principal Harp of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Elizabeth Hainen.
I am also delighted to have my Boston, MA premiere next Friday, April 17, at the Church of the Advent. Cuatro Puntos have given my string quartet, Murmuring Bones, a lot of performances in the New England area since the piece placed second in their composition competition last year, and I'm very grateful! Check it out if you're in the area.
March 30, 2015
An update on my summer composition ventures - despite getting accepted to both New Music on the Point and fresh inc., I had to turn both offers down due to the Costello competition deadline (April 1) and my Masters thesis defence (April 9) giving me limited time to prepare solid pieces for their deadlines of May 1st. I'm still hopeful that I will be accepted to one last festival that I've applied to - fingers crossed!
Regardless, I have some exciting projects coming up, including a guitar solo for Trevor Babb, a marimba solo for Ryan Scott, companion pieces to Olive Oil for Hannah Tarder-Stoll, and a pet project for two percussionists and harpsichord.
Some upcoming performances - Gavin Fraser will be premiering the baritone version of my encore piece for solo voice, Olive Oil, at his 3rd year performance recital on April 2 at the Suncor Energy Hall at Memorial University in St. John's, NL. The Pelorus Ensemble will also be doing another performance of my piece for drum kit feature, Relative Bearings, at April's iteration of Night Music, a monthly concert series for the "basement avant garde" presented at the Ship. Check it out on April 16 in St. John's!
A correction to a previous post - the premiere of fill your hands with work and lovers is being postponed to January 2016 (prepared piano issues!)
February 18, 2015
I'm so pleased to announce that I've been selected as a finalist for the Lyra Society's Costello Competition! No matter the outcome between the three finalists, all finalists will have a new work for chamber ensemble featuring harp premiered in the Philadelphia area (with the winner's work premiered at the Curtis Institute - with $1000 to boot!) More details about the premiere (and the piece!) to come.
January 22, 2015
I'm very excited to have a premiere date for my commission from trombonist Stephen Ivany! He'll be performing Fill your hands with work and lovers for trombone, trumpet, and prepared piano on April 15 at Florida State University as part of his first doctoral recital. I can't wait to hear it!
I'm also in the unique position (for the first time ever!) of having three performances in separate places on one night - on February 6, The Box Office will be performed in both Cincinnati, Ohio and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, in St. John's, Newfoundland, my piece Relative Bearings, for drum kit featuring guitar and synthesizer, will be receiving its premiere from the Pelorus Ensemble as part of the Newfound Music Festival's Pint Sized Encores. Such a busy night - wish I could see at least one of them!
January 12, 2015
It looks like The Box Office will be getting some additional exposure in January and February - the short opera was selected for the North American New Opera Workshop and will have two free, unstaged performances in Cincinnati, Ohio. More information on dates and locations here.
January 3, 2015
Happy New Year! Looking forward to some performances in January and February - in Toronto, the wonderful Toy Piano Composers will be programming my piece for baritone sax and percussion on their January 24 concert, "Grit". The piece, "Junk," was originally written for members of the St. John's-based Pelorus Ensemble. You can hear it using the media player on the bottom of the site - enjoy the premiere recording and check it out live in January if you're nearby! The Box Office is also getting its third mounting and fourth performance in February. More details later!
December 19, 2014
Welcome to the website for Bekah Simms, Canadian composer. Expect more updates soon and please take a listen.