"Simas can make it sing, make it beg, make it roll over and have it serenade you. His phrasing, subtle dynamics and inherent expressiveness are memorable, as he has shown in many other types of repertory and ensembles.” —ArtsSF.com
- Chamber Music
- MM, Cleveland Institute of Music
- BM, Cleveland Institute of Music
- San Francisco Symphony, 2012–Present
- California Symphony
- Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
- First Prize, International Clarinet Society’s Young Artist’s Competition
- First Prize, Yellow Springs National Chamber Music Competition
- Grand Prize, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
What is your hometown?
Who was your major teacher?
Franklin Cohen, retired principal clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
“Look for musical solutions to technical challenges.”
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
“How can I figure out what my professional goals are and how can I succeed in accomplishing those goals?”
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
Joining my local youth orchestra in Sacramento and also hearing the San Francisco Symphony live as a high school student.
What was a turning point in your career?
Joining the New World Symphony in 1995.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably something in the biological sciences.
What is your daily practice routine?
Making sure I get a good one-and-a-half-hour warm-up each morning prior to my rehearsals, teaching, and concerts. If this doesn't happen, it's an uphill battle for the day on the clarinet...
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Stravinsky, Mozart, and Puccini.
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?
1987, Cleveland, Ohio.
What are your most important collaborations?
Playing concerts with my colleagues of both the San Francisco Symphony and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?
Annie Phillips (SFCM alum who recently joined the faculty at NEC), Kevin Tang (SFCM alum), and all of the SFCM clarinet students whom I have coached and given bass clarinet lessons to!
What recordings can we hear you on?
New World Jazz, RCA Victor and BMG Classics
The Mahler Project, SFS Media
Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, SFS Media
Adams: Absolute Jest & Grand Pianola Music, SFS Media
San Francisco Premieres, Chamber Music Partnership