about    simon





Edinburgh born Simon Thacker is a guitar soloist, composer and leader of some of today's most prescient ensembles. He has been selected to represent the country to international audiences and promoters at the Made in Scotland showcase in each of the last three years.


His group Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti is a world leading Indo-Western collective that has seen him tour and premiere new work at major festivals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, most recently for an audience of 60 000 in Dhaka. Svara-Kanti’s 2013 debut album Rakshasa was immediately hailed as one of the most important intercultural releases for a generation in over fifty reviews around the world, with awards in several “albums of the year” lists. Their next (double) album will be released in late 2017.


Simon is also the leader of and composer for Simon Thacker's Ritmata, featuring three of Europe’s finest jazz/world musicians: Paul Harrison (piano), Mario Caribe (bass) and Stu Brown (drums). They toured New Zealand in 2015 and are currently recording their Creative Scotland supported debut album.


In duo with Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska he has just released the new Karmana album featuring Simon's six movement Karmana suite for guitar and cello, reimagined Gaelic, Romany and Polish music, one of the most advanced ever uses of backwards recording and special guests Karine Polwart (Scots song), Masha Natanson (Romany song) and Sarvar Sabri (tabla). It was also supported by Creative Scotland.


2016 saw the premiere of Simon's Songs of the Roma new Romany musical journey at the Made in Scotland showcase in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Justyna Jablonska and Masha Natanson, to five star reviews.


Simon is classical guitar tutor at Edinburgh College and Edinburgh Napier University, has been nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, was a winner of the 50th Park Lane Group Awards and has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the RSNO. He has performed in the USA, India, New Zealand, Spain, Bangladesh, France, Pakistan, Malta, Cuba and Belgium.


Study with Simon in Edinburgh at


Edinburgh Napier University (degree level)

Edinburgh College (degree, degree foundation, HND)




MMus (Distinction), RSAMD, 2003
PGDipMus, RSAMD, 2002

BMus Hons (1st class), Napier University, 2001
Fabio Zanon, private tuition, London, 2003-5



Concerto repertoire performed

Nada Ananda, Shirish Korde (written for and premiered by Simon Thacker)

Guitar Concerto no.1 op.99, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Mary's Lament, Kenneth Dempster (written for and premiered by Simon Thacker)

Concerto in A, op.30, Mauro Giuliani
Jeromita Linares, Carlos Guastavino
Concierto de Aranjuez, Joaquin Rodrigo
Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre, Joaquin Rodrigo
Guitar Concerto, Heitor Villa-Lobos
Concerto RV93, Antonio Vivaldi




Selected career performance highlights



Debut of Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti in Bangladesh at Dhaka International Folk fest, including premiere of new collaboration with singer Farida Yasmin in Simon's reimaginings of two songs by Baul mystic Lalon.


Duo with Justyna Jablonska Karmana album release in 2016. Duo and special guest Masha Natanson selected for Simon's third consecutive Made in Scotland showcase, premiering Songs of the Roma, a new Romany musical journey.


Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti special trio lineup exploring the mystical Bengali Baul tradition featured at the Made in Scotland showcase at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, also featured on BBC Radio 3 in Tune, BBC Asian Network and STV.


Tour of Karachi and Islamabad, Pakistan, for British High Commission in duo with tabla master Sarvar Sabri, with performances on TV channels Aaj, ARY and PTV and Radio Pakistan, programme of music by Simon and his reimgaining of Dil dil Pakistan


Indian debut of Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti performing a programme of Simon's work to standing ovations and glowing reviews, also featuring the world premiere of a new collaboration with Raju das Baul, November Review Fest, in Coimbatore and Kochi, also live session for BBC Radio 3's World on 3 of Simon's work


Simon Thacker's Ritmata featured in the Made in Scotland international showcase of the best of Scottish arts at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2014, also featuring the world premiere of Simon's Asuramaya


Tour of Chennai and Pondicherry, South India, including a temple in a remote Tamil village and pioneering special needs centre Vidya Sagar, with Scottish composer Nigel Osborne's Naciketa ensemble, also including a Bharatanatyam dancer, November 2013.


Release of Rakshasa  by Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti featuring Simon's backwards recording tour de force title track, 73 minutes of world premieres, over 50 fantastic reviews around the world, Svaranjali  played on over 200 US radio stations


Debut as soloist with the RSNO at the Edinburgh Playhouse, music by Nobuo Uematsu in the Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy  programme conducted by Arnie Roth, Nov 2012.


Svara-Kanti premiere of Simon's Multani  for guitar, violin and tabla at the 2012 Glasgow Jazz Festival.


Svara-Kanti premieres newly commissioned works by US legend Terry Riley, the UK's Nigel Osborne, India's Shirish Korde and Simon at the London Southbank Centre's flagship South Asian Festival, Alchemy 2012. Supported by Creative Scotland Gem Arts and the Hope Scott Trust. Followed by large scale UK tour, including performances at Cheltenham Festival, Buxton Festival and Milapfest in Liverpool.


Svara-Kanti UK tour 2011, including the premiere of Svaranjali  by Simon for tabla and guitar at the Southbank Centre, London.


Simon Thacker's Ritmata: premiere of Simon's Cantigas de Santa Maria Suite  at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe (read more here)


Simon Thacker and the Nava Rasa Ensemble UK tour and concerto premieres, Nada Ananda  CD release here on Slap The Moon Records, 2009


Appointed Visiting Fellow in Music at the University of Aberdeen in 2009, completed in 2012.


Solo: 2008, nomination for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the UK


Solo: 2007, tour of innovative programme The Alternative Guitar, including the premiere of Kenneth Dempster's Sanctum  at the Queens Hall, Edinburgh, for the Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust (ECAT), Musica Nova Festival,  Glasgow and Sound Festival, Aberdeen


Solo: Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, London, as a winner of the 50th Park Lane Group Young Artist Awards, including the premiere of David Fennessy's Security Blanket  for solo guitar (2006)


Solo: series of concerts in Havana, Cuba, for audiences that included Ramon Castro, brother of Fidel and Cuba’s greatest composer Leo Brouwer as well as on live TV


Live Music Now!: Simon was a member of the Yehudi Menuhin founded Live Music Now! scheme from 2002-7, providing countless performing opportunities