British pianist Simon Mulligan celebrated his début aged 19 at London's Barbican Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; a month later he recorded his first compact disc under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin. This led to a seven-year collaboration and friendship, culminating in what was to be Lord Menuhin's final concert in Dusseldorf, March 1999.
Described by The Times of London as 'the most abundantly gifted of pianists', Simon performs and records internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. His most recent recordings include a disc of Beethoven sonatas and a live recital in Switzerland for Alexis Weissenberg’s Birthday. His first solo album for Sony Classical, “Piano” won great acclaim throughout Europe, South America and the Far East, and featured in various television, radio, and internet campaigns. He has made over twenty recordings for compact disc, including performances of Martinu's Triple Concerto (conducted by Menuhin), Rozsa’s Spellbound concerto with the BBC Symphony conducted by Slatkin, Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, his own Suite for Piano and Orchestra, and the Nocturnes of Chopin. He has made four discs for the Nimbus label, including a première recording of music by pianist Alexis Weissenberg. Simon’s performances with orchestra include the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony under Slatkin, Warsaw Sinfonia (Menuhin), Brno Philharmonic (Menuhin), Modesto Symphony (Lockington), Reading Symphony (Rothstein), Hong Kong Philharmonic (Atherton), the Hallé, Bournemouth Sinfonia, Malaysian Philharmonic and English Symphony (Boughton). Simon’s love of improvisation has led to articles in numerous music publications, including Downbeat, JazzTimes, International Pianist and Gramophone magazines.
As a chamber musician, Simon collaborates with many notable artists. He began touring with ‘cellist Lynn Harrell, while a student at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He has also given numerous recital tours worldwide with Joshua Bell, including performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Hamburg’s Musikhalle, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, the 2002 Grammy Awards, and a recent performance for President Barack Obama. In other fields, Simon has supported Van Morrison, Dame Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli, and was invited to perform for Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He has recently begun collaborating with award-winning broadcaster and journalist John Suchet on a series of concerts about the life of Beethoven.
Alongside an extensive solo repertoire and over fifty concertos, Simon is a devotee of contemporary music and has given first performances of works by Hans Werner Henze, James MacMillan, Tobias Picker, Alexis Weissenberg, Mark Anthony Turnage and Paul Moravec, (winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music). His recording of Ned Rorem’s Piano Concerto No.2 with José Serebrier and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra (for Naxos) was Gramophone magazine’s “Editor’s Choice”. A new album of James MacMillan’s music is due for release shortly.
Simon is also a passionate composer and arranger, writing for film, television and his own jazz quartet. He collaborated on several projects with film composer Michael Kamen, including The New Moon In The Old Moon’s Arms recorded for Decca, conducted by Leonard Slatkin with the BBC Symphony. Simon featured as soloist on Kamen's score for Band of Brothers – the award-winning HBO television series produced by Steven Spielberg. Simon’s playing of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ sonata features in the independent film “The Target”, starring Christopher Lambert and Dennis Hopper. He also provided the piano score to the theatre production “Full Circle”, starring Joan Collins. As a jazz pianist, he has led several of his own groups since he was 13, performing at festivals throughout the UK, Europe, Shanghai and Barbados. The new jazz quartet album, “Playlist”, is available through Simon’s website.
A Music Scholar of St Paul's School, London, Simon studied under Alexander Kelly at the Royal Academy of Music and Jaques Rouvier in Paris; he also studied Beethoven at the personal invitation of Alfred Brendel. He was also the recipient of a scholarship to the International Piano Academy on Italy’s Lake Como. There, his mentors included Charles Rosen, Alexis Weissenberg and Murray Perahia. In 2007, Simon was one of the youngest recipients to be awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music for his musical achievements.