"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. Interested in contemporary music for as long as he can remember, his solo performances balance the kinetic and colorful music of today with Americana and Baroque traditions. 

The 18/19 season is Rob’s seventh as principal second violin of the Louisville Orchestra and his eighth summer as a member of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA. Both ensembles have long legacies of adventurous programming. Recent and upcoming highlights are a solo performance with the Louisville Orchestra, a solo recital at the Center for New Music, a recording project with composer Rachel Grimes, and a guest appearance as principal second violin with the Rochester Philharmonic. 

Rob 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 GiddensJoe 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. 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