"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
- Studio Bass Clarinet
- MM, Cleveland Institute of Music
- BM, Cleveland Institute of Music
- San Francisco Symphony, 2012–Present, Bass Clarinet and Clarinet
- California Symphony, Principal Clarinet
- Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Solo Clarinet
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
- Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award
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?
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?
1987, Cleveland, Ohio.
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?
Annie Phillips (SFCM alum who recently joined the faculty at NEC), Kevin Tang (SFCM alum), Paul Miller (SFCM alum), Louis Kim (SFCM alum), Lara Mitofsky-Neuss (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