Thomas Simpson


Born: April 1, 1582; Milton-next-Sittingbourne, Kent   Died: June, 1628; Copenhagen, Denmark  
Thomas Simpson was a minor but significant English composer from the early-17th century. His surviving compositions, all instrumental, are contained mostly in three collections and feature both original works as well as arrangements of pieces by other composers.

Simpson was born in Milton-next-Sittingbourne (now known as Milton Regis), Kent, England in 1582, before April 1, the date of his baptism. No further record of his first
Read more twenty-five years exists, though it appears he was writing music by his late-teens or early-twenties, since a partial manuscript survives that seems to predate 1608, perhaps having been written around 1602.

In 1608 Simpson's name appeared in records among those serving as musicians under the Elector Palatine at the Heidelberg (Germany) Court. It is thus quite likely that Simpson had traveled to Germany and elsewhere in Europe before 1608. Indeed, his wife was from Lorraine, France, a fact that has caused some scholars to speculate further that Simpson had served for a short time at the Nancy Court.

Most of Simpson's surviving music was published in three large collections. The first (Opusculum neuwer Pavanen) appeared in 1610, when the composer was still serving at Heidelberg. Some of the works in this collection are arrangements of pieces by Dowland, Farmer and others.

The second collection, Opus neuwer Paduanen, was published in 1611 and contains galliards, pavans, and various other works written exclusively by Simpson. The last, Taffel-Consort, dates to 1621 and presents, once again, original works as well as pieces by other composers, in arrangements probably made by Simpson. At the time of its appearance Simpson was a musician at the Bckeburg (Germany) Court of Count Ernst III of Holstein-Schaumburg, in whose service he had been since at least 1615.

Simpson next served at the Danish Court of King Christian IV as a violist, from 1622 to 1625. After this period his activities are unknown, though it appears he remained in Copenhagen and died no later than late-spring, 1628. Read less

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