1. Faculty

Jerome Simas

Chamber Music; Bass Clarinet; Clarinet

"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

COURSES TAUGHT

  • Private Studio Clarinet
  • Private Studio Bass Clarinet
  • Chamber Music

EDUCATION

  • MM, Cleveland Institute of Music
  • BM, Cleveland Institute of Music

ENSEMBLES

  • San Francisco Symphony, 2012–Present, Bass Clarinet and Clarinet
  • Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Solo Clarinet
  • Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra

AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS

  • Fellow, New World Symphony
  • First Prize, International Clarinet Society Young Artist Competition
  • Grand Prize, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
  • Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award

What is your hometown?

Sacramento, CA

Who was your major teacher?

Franklin Cohen, retired principal clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Remain musical..."

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 a turning point in your career?

Everything leads to the next stage - including and maybe even especially the challenges along the way - but two important things stand out as being defining moments...being a fellow at the New World Symphony and attending Marlboro Music.

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?

The warm-up is key. If the fundamentals are in place - breath support, fingers, articulation, reed, scales - it will likely turn out to be a good day playing 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?

A personal history was hearing the Cleveland Orchestra live for the first time in Cleveland, OH in 1987 playing Beethoven 6 with Christoph von Dohnanyi conducting, but I suppose Fin-de-Siècle Paris would have been a great match if I could travel back in time.

 

What are your most important collaborations?

Working with students in chamber music coaching and in private clarinet lessons has been a highlight of my career. I'm also incredibly lucky to collaborate with all of my SFS colleagues, in particular fellow clarinetists Carey Bell, Luis Baez, and Dave Neuman.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

I can't decide who to list...it is and has been a privilege to teach them all!

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

Jerome Simas is Solo Bass Clarinet and Utility Clarinet of the San Francisco Symphony, having been appointed by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in 2012, and is a member of the Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra. Also an active chamber musician, he is solo clarinetist with the Bay Area’s Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, collaborates frequently with San Francisco Symphony colleagues in chamber performances at Davies Symphony Hall, and plays with the Sierra Chamber Society in the East Bay.

Mr. Simas has served as principal clarinet of the IRIS Orchestra and the California, Oakland, Modesto, and Monterey Symphonies. His engagements with other American orchestras include the San Francisco Opera (as acting Principal Clarinet), San Francisco Ballet, Chautauqua Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Naples Philharmonic (FL). With the San Francisco Symphony, he has performed under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Jaap van Zweden, Kurt Masur, Manfred Honeck, Alasdair Neale, and composer John Adams, among others. Mr. Simas’s awards and honors include a fellowship at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach FL, the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, and First Prize at the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition. He has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and at the Tanglewood Music Center. 

Jerome Simas is featured in Rhapsody in Blue and Ebony Concerto on the New World Symphony’s recording New World Jazz (with conductor and soloist Michael Tilson Thomas, RCA Victor Red Seal). He received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied under Cleveland Orchestra Principal Clarinet Franklin Cohen. Previous teachers include clarinet studies with William E. Powell and Jay Allen.