The varied output of two-time JUNO Award-nominated composer Bekah Simms has been heralded as “cacophonous, jarring, oppressive — and totally engrossing!” (CBC Music) and “tough, even gutsy...with a sure sense of original and vibrant colours” (Vancouver Sun). Propelled equally by fascination and terror toward the universe, her work is often filtered through the personal lens of her anxiety, resulting in nervous, messy, and frequently heavy musical landscapes. Foremost among her current compositional interests is quotation and the friction between recognizability and complete obfuscation.
Bekah hails from St. John's, Newfoundland and is currently Toronto-based. Her music has been widely performed across Canada, in over a dozen American states, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Lithuania, Ireland, and the UK. Commissioning ensembles include some of the top interpreters of contemporary music in both Canada and internationally, such as Crash Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, New York New Music Ensemble, l’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Continuum Contemporary Music, and Duo Concertante.
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 30 awards and prizes, including the 2019 Barlow Prize, two SOCAN Foundation Young Composer Awards, and the 2017 Toronto Emerging Composer Award. Works from her debut album “impurity chains” were nominated in both 2019 and 2020 for the JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year. Her music has thrice been included in the Canadian Section's official submission to World Music Days (2016, 2019, & 2021), 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 during academic studies were Gary Kulesha and Andrew Staniland, alongside significant private study with Clara Iannotta and Martin Bédard.