Philip Simmons has conducted in twenty one countries, performing in Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, the Musikverein, and the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He is Artistic Director of American Music Festivals, serving as Music Director of the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and Resident Conductor for the Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands.
Conducting extensively in the former Soviet Union, he was an Associate Conductor of the Orchestra of the Hermitage Theater and Principal Guest Conductor of the Sochi Symphony Orchestra. In 1999 he conducted the Russian State Symphony (Moscow) in a concert broadcast nationally, and on July 4, 2004 Mr. Simmons guest conducted a sold-out American program with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In May 2012 he conducted the Premiere of “West Side Story” with the State Musical Theater of Belarus, as a guest of the US Embassy in Minsk.
Mr. Simmons led the Sarajevo Philharmonic in the National Theater of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009. In collaboration with Chicago Sister Cities International he directed the President’s Orchestra (Moscow, 2001), Dvorak Chamber Orchestra (Prague, 2006), and St. George Strings (Belgrade, 2006). Other international orchestras he has conducted include the South Bohemia Chamber Philharmonic, Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Varna Chamber Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic, Haifa Symphony, Thüringen Philharmonic, and Ensemble Orchestra Sendai. In October of 2017 he will return to guest conduct the West Bohemia Symphony in the Czech Republic.
Mr. Simmons founded the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra in 1990. The LCO partners with civic, cultural, educational, and presenting organizations to facilitate concerts and programs of cultural exchange throughout Chicago that promote diversity. Working with the Chicago Chopin Society, the orchestra will highlight the 2017-18 Cultural Exchange Festival. In 2016 the LCO was featured as part of the “Sir Georg Solti Memorial Festival in Chicago” at the Copernicus Center, alongside Chicago Pro Musica and musicians appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Maestro Solti. The LCO has appeared at Chicago’s Harris Theater, Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Drury Lane Theater, Lutkin Hall (Northwestern University), and the American Islamic College.
Previous conducting positions include Music Director of the Russian-American Chamber Orchestra of Chicago, Lake Shore Symphony, and the Glenview Symphony. As an orchestral educator, he served as Orchestra Director at Lake Forest Academy and Northeastern Illinois University, and has conducted the Chicago Youth Symphony and performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Other US orchestras Mr. Simmons has led include the Skokie Valley Symphony, Waukegan Symphony, La Porte Symphony (IN), and Perrysburg Symphony (OH). A Hawaii resident since 2009, Mr. Simmons and American Music Festivals founded the Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands, which has given concerts and outreach programs in Honolulu and on the Big Island.
He has appeared with William Warfield, Lukas Foss, the Three Russian Tenors, Radoslav Kvapil, Anya Makarova, Philippe Muller, Albert Igolnikov, John Bruce Yeh, Charles Pikler, David Schrader, Denis Azabagic, Wendy Warner, Rachel Barton Pine, Jaroslaw Golembiowski, Danny Akaka, Jr., and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Mr. Simmons has conducted many silent film scores on the Chicago Silent Summer Film Festival. Among his recordings are “Impressions of Saint Petersburg” (dedicated to Maestro Yuri Temirkanov, 2000), music of Alexander Tcherepnin (2003), the 2005 short film “Help Me,” and the soundtrack to “Moonlight” (2013).
Mr. Simmons received his Master’s Degree in Music Composition from DePaul University. In 1989 he attended the conducting seminar at Tanglewood, the last year it was coached by Leonard Bernstein. His teachers include Gustav Meier, Jorma Panula, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Alexander Polishuk, Yuri Siminov, Otto-Werner Mueller, Elizabeth Green, Michael Morgan, and Benjamin Zander.
A classical guitarist, Mr. Simmons has performed as soloist with every orchestra under his direction, as well as with the Civic Chamber Ensemble (Chicago), DePaul University Wind Ensemble, and the North Shore Chamber Orchestra. For a season he hosted ‘Meet the Maestro,” a monthly program on Glenview (IL) Cable Television and served as Chair of the Wilmette (IL) Fine Arts Commission from 2006-2009. Currently he accompanies his 6 year old daughter Penelope, their duo performs Disney songs, ballet, and hula.