Robert Simonds

Principal Second Violin
Claire and Lee Lenkoff Chair

Violinist Robert Simonds has a multifaceted career as an orchestral player, chamber musician and solo recitalist. Interested in contemporary music for as long as he can remember, his performances balance the kinetic, colorful and sincere music of today with Americana and Baroque traditions.

The upcoming 16/17 season will be Rob’s fifth as principal second violin of the Louisville Orchestra and his seventh summer as a member of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA. Both ensembles have a long legacy and ongoing commitment to adventurous programming. He began his professional orchestral career with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra followed by a longtime position with The Phoenix Symphony. Rob has also performed with the orchestras of Minnesota, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Columbus, and Virginia. For four summers he was a member of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder – where he met his wife, also a violinist.

Small ensemble collaborations with diverse artists such as Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Pug, Ben Sollee, Tobie Milford and The Low Anthem have been especially gratifying. On bigger stages, Rob has performed as concertmaster for orchestral concerts with Barry Manilow, Celtic Woman, Michael Feinstein, Jackie Evancho and as assistant concertmaster for the North American tour of Star Wars in Concert. Recent highlights have been string quartet performances at the Forecastle Festival backing up My Morning Jacket and Alabama Shakes.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rob began studying the violin at a young age with his grandmother. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he earned two degrees in violin performance, studying with Dr. Won-Bin Yim, for whom he served as graduate teaching assistant, and also 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.