Robert Simonds is the Principal Second Violin of the Louisville Orchestra and a member of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA. Both ensembles are renowned for their devotion to new and adventurous music. As solo recitalist and chamber musician, Rob continues this commitment to contemporary music with an emphasis on American styles.
In addition to performing the music of leading contemporary composers, Rob is also dedicated to working across genres and has produced and performed in small ensemble partnerships with indie-folk artists Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Pug, Ben Sollee, Tobie Milford and The Low Anthem.
Rob began his professional orchestral career with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, which was followed by a longtime position in The Phoenix Symphony. He regularly returns to Arizona to play with the Downtown Chamber Series, which presents concerts in Phoenix through a network of urban art spaces as well as the recently opened Musical Instrument Museum. His work in Arizona also includes performances with the Arizona Music Fest Orchestra. As a substitute musician, he has worked with the orchestras of Minnesota, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Columbus and Virginia. For several summers he was a member of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder.
Rob has recorded orchestral albums with both The Phoenix Symphony and The Indianapolis Symphony on the Naxos and Telarc labels. He’s also performed solo and chamber parts on recordings with indie musicians Ben Sollee and Ray’s Music Exchange.
Within popular music, Rob has served as concertmaster for orchestral concerts with Celtic Woman, Michael Feinstein, Jackie Evancho, and Barry Mainilow. He performed as the Associate Concertmaster for the North American tour of Star Wars in Concert. He also works as a studio musician; recording commercial, pop, educational, and sacred music as well as soundtracks.
Rob was born and raised in Massachusetts and began studying violin at a young age with his grandmother. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Rob earned two degrees in violin performance studying with Dr. Won-Bin Yim, for whom he served as graduate teaching assistant, and with Dorothy Delay. While at CCM he studied chamber music with the Amernet and Tokyo String Quartets. His violin is from Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, made by Mario Bedocchi in 1927.
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