Newfoundland-born, Toronto-based composer Bekah Simms has been the recipient of over 25 awards and prizes, including most recently the 2019 Barlow Prize (Brigham Young University) and the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award (University of Toronto).
Simms' music has been heralded as “nuanced and complex” (NOW Magazine) and “cacophonous, jarring, oppressive — and totally engrossing!” (CBC Music). Propelled equally by fascination and terror toward the universe, her work is often filtered through the personal lens of her anxiety. Foremost among her current compositional interests is quotation and the friction between recognizability and complete obfuscation.
Simms hails from St. John's, Newfoundland but is currently Toronto-based. Her music has been widely broadcast in Canada and the United States and performed live from coast to coast in Canada, in over a dozen American states, Italy, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, and the UK. Interpreters of her music include a diverse range of ensembles, including Esprit Orchestra, Continuum Contemporary Music, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Madawaska Quartet, Ensemble Paramirabo, TorQ Percussion Quartet, and Duo Concertante. In addition to her new work for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, upcoming commissions include new works for Ensemble Telemaque (Marseille), Redshift (Vancouver), the 21C Festival (Toronto), Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) and more.
In addition to commission and recording funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council, Bekah has been the recipient of over 25 awards and prizes, including the 2019 Barlow Prize, the 2017 Toronto Emerging Composer Award and the 2018 Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music. Her work "Granitic" was nominated for the 2019 JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year. Her music has twice been included in the Canadian Section's official submission to World Music Days (2016 & 2019), and in 2016 the CBC included her among their annual 30 hot classical musicians under 30.
Bekah holds a D.M.A. and M.Mus in music composition from the University of Toronto, and a B.Mus.Ed. and B.Mus in theory/composition from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her principal teachers and mentors were Gary Kulesha and Andrew Staniland.