Music Director and Conductor
For 26 years, Stephen Simon was the Music Director and Conductor of the Washington Chamber Symphony in D.C., the resident chamber orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. As the Music Director of the Handel Festival of New York at Carnegie Hall (1971-74), he created modern performing editions of little-known Handel works and conducted many of their American premieres, including Alexander Balus; Sosarme; and Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo. When he was appointed Music Director of the Handel Festival at the Kennedy Center (1976-88), Simon continued his work with Handel, recording the operas Ariodante and Orlando and the oratorios Judas Maccabaeus and highlights from Athalia for RCA Victor. His recording of Handel’s Solomon won a Grammy nomination for best choral recoding. For many years, he was a guest conductor at the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany, where he led the Halle Philharmonic Orchestra. Simon also recorded The Complete Mozart Piano Concertos with Mme. Lili Kraus for CBS/SONY and the prize-winning Beethoven Piano Concerti with soloist Anthony Newman as the soloist for the Newport Classics label. He also recorded Handel’s Oboe Concerti with Phyllis Lanini and Tartini Violin Concerti with Jody Gatwood and the Washington Chamber Symphony for Musical Heritage.
Simon’s many years with the Washington Chamber Symphony were known for their eclectic programming and delightful high-spirited concerts. In addition, he turned thousands of young people and their parents and grandparents on to classical music through the symphony’s enormously successful Concerts for Young People series, as well as the symphony’s annual Stories in Music™ and Great Composer concerts. Deeply committed to ensuring the continuation of the symphony orchestra as an art form in America, Stephen and Bonnie Ward Simon have embarked on a recording project to make many of their successful concerts available on a new series of CDs for young people and their parents. The Stories in Music™ produced by Maestro ClassicsTM (formerly Magic Maestro Music®), has just released The Story of Swan Lake featuring the London Philharmonic with Stephen Simon, conductor, Yadu, narrator, and Bonnie Ward Simon, elucidator. The previous six CDs in the series (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, Juanita la langosta española, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Peter and the Wolf) have all won top awards, including Parents’ Choice Gold, Oppenheim Toy/Media Platinum, and the American Library Association’s Booklist’s prestigious Editor’s Choice awards. For more information, please visit www.MaestroClassics.com
The Simons have summered in Woods Hole since 1982. They have two sons, Basil and Sebastian.