"He’s a confident and amazingly gifted performer biting off works of immense complexity..." -Paul Hertelendy, Arts San Francisco


American violinist Robert Simonds has a multifaceted career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and solo recitalist. This year, Rob begins his first season as principal second violin of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and his eighth as a member of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA. Interested in contemporary music for as long as he can remember, Rob performs, commissions, and records dynamic new music by living composers and explores the connections between traditions. 

Recent and upcoming highlights are unaccompanied recitals in California, a collaboration with singer/songwriter Lizzie No in Phoenix, an appearance on Live from Here, a solo performance with the Louisville Orchestra, and a recording project with composer Rachel Grimes. 

For seven years, Rob was principal second violin of the Louisville Orchestra. He began his professional orchestral career with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra followed by a longtime position with The Phoenix Symphony. He 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, who is also a violinist.

Small ensemble collaborations with diverse artists such as Rhiannon GiddensLizzie No, Joe Pug, Ben Sollee, Tobie Milford and The Low Anthem have been especially gratifying along with performances at the Forecastle Festival backing up My Morning Jacket and Alabama Shakes.. 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.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rob began the violin at a young age, learning from 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. His violin is from Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, made by Mario Bedocchi in 1927.

“Robert Simonds played Dissolve, but instead of exploring how one chord led to the next and fit into the overall form, he presented them as blunt objects of sound. With that attitude, the music is gripping,” -George Grella, New York Classical Review