Simon has received enthusiastic standing ovations as a conductor, a composer and as a clarinetist
He has won International auditions and played principal clarinet with the Rishon orchestra in Israel (where he was offered tenure) and the the Banff opera orchestra as well as Philharmonia west and the Kelowna Pops orchestra amongst others. He was accepted into Banff as an Artist in residence and into the Banff and Sarasota (Florida) festivals. He has performed chamber music and solo recitals with many of the finest musicians, including Jasper Wood, Shauna Rolston, Arnold Draper and George Zuckerman. He is principal clarinet with the Prince George Symphony.
Simon studied with Emilio Iacurto at McGill, an Italian clarinetist of the Bel canto school of playing and with Tom Telamantes. He also played in the master classes of many great clarinetists including Frank Cohen, Michele Zukovsky, Stanley Hasty, Robert Marcellus and Allen Hacker and studied with Micheal Doumachell and Bob Crowley of the MSO. His first clarinet teacher was Joan Riley in high school. He started playing professionally while still in high school as the principal clarinet in several opera orchestras. His first instrument was the recorder which he started in grade 2, by grade 3 was teaching it to other classes. He has now been teaching for 41 years.
His Solo CD The Art of Melody, which was the first classical CD to ever come out of Prince George has been distributed around the world and played on the CBC.
He regularly appears as a soloist outside Prince George at chamber music festivals, for concert associations, on tour and most recently was a soloist at the International clarinet festival, he has performed most of the major concertos (in over 40 appearances) for clarinet with orchestra from Mozart to Nielsen.
Simon Cole is a composer who reflects the natural beauty of the Canadian North in his music.
His works include One Song Universus for soprano and orchestra (standing ovations at every performance and over 28 school and community shows of the quartet version presented).
In 2007 Simon was awarded a major commission to compose the One Song. Canada council awarded the pgso a grant to tour with it and in 2010 the BC government recognizing the importance of this work awarded a $50,000 grant to form an entire festival around it.
Some of his other performed orchestral works include: The Irish symphony 1798 , My Dog overture, Music for Social occasions, Rhapsody for clarinet, Adagio for clarinet and strings, Chamber symphony. He has also composed a number of chamber works in including Huble Homestead.
His orchestral work Kalinnisky Duff was recorded by the late great conductor Georg Tintner
He recently performed his Rhapsody for clarinet and piano as guest soloist for the International Clarinet Association.
His compositions and clarinet playing have been broadcast Provincially and Nationally on CBC.
He is currently working on a full length orchestral score for the story Bird Women House to premier in Sept 2013. He also composes for animated works.
Conductor and Educator
Simon is the founder and Artistic Director of the Non-profit Alban Classical Artists Society which has toured remote communities giving school and community concerts. They have performed in most communities in BC and The Yukon, from Hartley Bay on the coast to as far as Old Crow in the northern Yukon. Well over 10,000 children have enjoyed Alban classical school concerts. They also produce their own concerts. Alban classical musicians can often be found volunteering at charitable events.
In 2011 Alban Classical started the New Horizons Senior/Adult band of which Simon is the Conductor. He has also conducted the PGSO and many bands from schools to military. For 2013/2014 they received government funding to expand their seniors programming.
"The Clarinet Concerto in A Major K. 622 was the perfect opportunity to showcase the instrument and the superb musical talent of Simon Cole.
This is an example of hearing orchestra and soloist enter into a musical conversation. Played in three movements, the music seems familiar by dint of its survival since 1791 and because of its association with movies like Out of Africa and, more recently, The King’s Speech. Understandably popular, this pretty, appealing music affords an opportunity for the clarinet to stand out and be truly appreciated for its dulcet tones. Particularly during the adagio, there was a reassuring sense of serenity in the notes.
The sweet clarinet sound led the orchestra through the movement. "V.Gilles Citizen(2011)
appreciative standing ovation acknowledging Cole's interpretation (Mozart clarinet concerto)
Giles Citizen (2005)
[clarinetist Simon] Cole and [flutist Don] Bond brought to the audience a most amazing tribute to Fryderyk Chopin, composed by Canadian Ronald Royer
The highlight of the evening was Aaron Copland's clarinet concerto played by guest clarinetists Simon Cole...Simon Cole a talented local musician is at least of national standing and possibly world class. As such he produced some beautiful sounds from the clarinet that really showed off both his and the instruments capabilities M.Nash PG This Week
"Kelowna’s well-loved pianist, Arnold Draper, with two of Canada’s shining stars, Simon Cole
and Jasper Wood"
the clarinet concerto by Aaron Copland and it was performed spectacularly by Simon Cole...Cole demonstrated his excellent musicianship in the very demanding cadenza...this was the highlight of the evening
A.Murray Prince George Citizen
Simon Cole played Weber concerto#2 a piece of amazing technical demand, it was played with incredible precision at blinding speed and was a personal highlight
D. Anderson Fort Nelson Daily News
Simon Coles playing of the Nielsen Concerto was virtuosity of the highest order with impeccable tone and technique Cole remained in complete command of the work
Clive Keen Prince George Citizen
Cole performed a stunning Rondo on the saxophone ( Haydn Gypsy Rondo)
One of the finest moments for me in many a concert came when Simon Cole , Principal clarinet took a marvellous melody out from behind the curtain and filled it with mystery and led us into a wonderfully moving conclusion
Simon Cole got a standing ovation for Weber's concerto #1...the audience response when the piece ended was instantaneous
Any clarinetist attempting the Prokofiev Sonata op.94 must be either brave or good, Simon Cole demonstrated he is both" ,"The Alban trio played warmly" "Cole and Wood were admirable..and turned in a rousing performance to great acclaim
Charles Velte Kelowna CourierThen followed “Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio” from La Clemenza di Tito Melanie Nichol sang deliberate phrasings over the melodic notes of Simon Cole’s clarinet. Plaintive emotion and longing are exquisitely expressed through that instrument.Bruce Citizen 2013
A fantastic clarinetists, most of the worlds great Orchestras do not have such a player
W. Kushner Berlin philharmonic
Simon Cole has every ability and quality a musician could want
Noam Sheriff Conductor, Israel"Talented and gifted, using the clarinet to express and communicate"Richard Stoltzman clarinetist/recording artist
Kalinsky Duff proved to be a beautiful piece of music
Fort Nelson daily News
An impressed audience gave the (Irish) symphony a standing ovation.
(Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra)
the audience was taken on roller coaster ride of swiftly changing moods and tempos that showcased Cole's breathtaking technique on clarinet. They were rewarded with a stunningly beautiful coda with the clarinet playing a gorgeous melody of long notes in the highest range.
The Spirit of the One Song arts reception and grand performance was an amazing
showcase of local talent culminating in a feeling of community that spread
throughout the theater space Citizen
I particularly enjoyed your rhapsody for clarinet, keep on composing!"
Pamela Weston one of the world's foremost researchers and writers on the clarinet Author of "Clarinet virtuosos
I listened to your rhapsody for clarinet BRAVO!!!"
Richard Stoltzman clarinetist/recording artist
Private performance April 14
PGSO April 21
Wind World Alban classical school show April 23 and 30