Simon Holt

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Simon Holt (born 21 February 1958) is a British composer.


Holt was born in Bolton and educated at Bolton School. Shortly after graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music, he became firmly established on the new music circuit with a series of commissions and fruitful collaborations with the London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble. Influenced by Messiaen, Xenakis and Feldman as well as visual artists such as Goya, Alberto Giacometti and Brâncuși, his music is complex, dramatic and often enigmatic. The intricate internal structures of his works are concealed by a seemingly impulsive nature, and, for many, lack coherence. During the 1980s he worked primarily in complex soundworlds, while since the 1990s the dense textures have often been offset by Feldmanesque moments of calm, that Holt refers to as ‘still centres’.[1]

Career highlights[edit]

  • 1978–82 – Studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Anthony Gilbert
  • 1985 – Came to prominence as featured composer at the Bath Festival
  • 1989 – Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Capriccio Spettrale
  • 1998 – Featured composer at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
  • 2001 – Le Prix de la Fondation Prince Pierre, Monaco for Sunrise’ yellow noise
  • 2002 – Ivor Novello Classical Music Award for Boots of Lead
  • 2004 – British Composer Award (Stage Works) for Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?[2]
  • 2006 – British Composer Award (Orchestral) for Witness to a Snow Miracle[2]
  • 2008 – Appointed Composer in Association with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales[3]
  • 2009 – British Composer Award (Orchestral) for A Table of Noises[2]

Key works[edit]

  • Kites for ensemble (1983)
  • Canciones for voice and ensemble (1986)
  • Syrensong for orchestra (1987)
  • Lilith for ensemble (1990)
  • Walking with the River's Roar for viola and orchestra (1990–1991, revised 2006)
  • The Nightingale’s to Blame, Opera (1998)
  • Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?, Musical Theatre (2002)
  • The Other Side of Silence for flute, viola and harp (2004)
  • Mantis for viola solo (2005)
  • A Table of Noises, Concerto for percussion (2007)
  • Troubled Light for orchestra (2008)
  • Centauromachy, Double Concerto for clarinet in A and flugelhorn (2009)
  • Telarañas, duo for violin and cello (2009), written for and dedicated to Jakob Kullberg
  • Surcos, for orchestra (2017), written for the Berliner Philharmoniker

Selected recordings[edit]


  1. ^ "Simon Holt". Music Sales Classical. Music Sales Group. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c British Composer Awards
  3. ^ "Composer in Association". BBC National Orchestra of Wales. BBC. Archived from the original on 30 March 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2017.

External links[edit]