Simon was born and educated in a small mining village in South Wales and began playing the violin at age 11. He studied conducting and violin at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and he spent his early career as a teacher, violinist and chamber musician with the Almira String Quartet. He has since developed a flourishing and versatile career as a conductor, musical director, leader, director and educator and has gradually relinquished the bow in favour of the baton.
Based in the West Midlands in the UK, Simon has performed with and conducted orchestras and ensembles both throughout the UK and internationally. He was appointed as Chief Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta (Štátny Komorný Orchester Zilina - state chamber orchestra of Slovakia) in September 2015 and completed a three year tenure. He now continues his relationship with the Orchestra as Permanent Guest Conductor. In January 2018 he was honoured by the government of Slovakia through the award of a Diploma of Appreciation in recognition of 'extraordinary merits in the development of friendly relationships with the Slovak Republic'. July 2018 saw Simon taking part in the Bucharest International Conducting Competition when he was awarded the 'special prize', voted for by the members of the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra. In 2022 he returned to Romania in order to compete in the inaugural 'Orchestra's Conductor' competition in Brasov and was awarded first prize. This win is especially special to Simon as the jury was formed of the orchestral members of the Filarmonica Brasov. The final concert was streamed live on YouTube and the audience, both in the concert hall and those watching live, were also given the opportunity to vote - Simon also won the audience vote. He will return to Brasov during 2022/23 and 2023/24 to undertake future engagements with the Orchestra.
Simon became Artistic Director of the Southern Sinfonia in 2016 whilst continuing to undertake guest conductor appearances with internationally renowned ensembles, perhaps most notably the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home with both classical and crossover repertoire, he became Russell Watson's Musical Director for much of Russell's UK tour in 2018. Prior to this Simon has spent a significant amount of time touring the globe as conductor with the internationally renowned classical crossover group ll Divo. His relationship with Il Divo has taken him on three world tours across six continents, performing with a plethora of international orchestras along the way and conducting in many of the world's iconic concert halls and arenas.
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Jonathan Del Mar and Omri Hadari
James Coles, Roger Coull and Malcolm Layfield
Chillingirian String Quartet and Siegmund Nissel (Amadeus String Quartet)
Prizes and Awards:
Winner - Orchestra's Conductor Competition (June 2022)
'Special Prize' - Bucharest International Conducting Competition (July 2018)
Slovak Republic Diploma of Appreciation (January 2018)
Junior Fellowship of Birmingham Conservatoire;
Dean's Prize for Exceptional Contribution to the Life of Birmingham Conservatoire;
ABSM (Teaching and Performance);
GBSM (Teaching and Performance Distinctions in both Conducting and Violin Studies);
Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Prize;
ESTA Prize for an Outstanding String Quartet.