Born in Liverpool in 1969, Simon studied with John Harle at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, graduating with Distinction in 1992. During his studies Simon won a succession of awards, scholarships and competitions including the Principal’s Prize and was the first wind player to be accepted for the prestigious YCAT award.
Currently he is Professor of Saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music. He was Professor of Saxophone at the Guildhall for over 10 years, was Visiting Professor of Saxophone at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, and has given masterclasses at the Royal College of Music and the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music.
Simon is much sought after as a recitalist and ensemble player, appearing with the Graham Fitkin Band, Nash Ensemble, Composers’ Ensemble and all the London Orchestras. He was appointed Principal Saxophone of the London Sinfonietta in 1997. He is also a member of Will Gregory’s Moog Ensemble as EWI and keyboard player.
As a soloist, Simon has appeared with the London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Of St John’s, Soloists of the Royal Opera House, East Of England Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Simon has given many world premieres: Andrew Poppy's double concerto Horn, Horn, commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for Simon & John Harle, Dave Heath's Moroccan Fantasy commissioned for Simon by the East of England Orchestra and Tan Dun's Orchestral Theatre III: Red Forecast with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the 1996 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Another work, Dave Heath’s Dawn of a New Age was commissioned by the King’s Lynn Festival for Simon & Evelyn Glennie and was first performed in July 1999. Waleed Howrani’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone was also given it’s world premiere by Simon with the English Chamber Orchestra in 2007.
The London Sinfonietta have commissioned three solo works for Simon. The first, The Colour of Scars, a concerto by Fraser Trainer was given its world premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in May 2001. iris, by Tansy Davis, was premiered at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004. In 2018 Simon gave the first performance of Mark Bowden's Sapiens at the Purcell Room.
In 2008 Simon was invited by Sir Harrison Birtwistle to perform in the world premier of his new opera “The Minotaur” at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and was subsequently invited back by music director Tony Pappano to perform in their productions of Berg’s “Lulu”, Massenet’s “Werther” and the revival of “Minotaur.”
As a chamber musician Simon has formed several successful duos and ensembles, notably with pianist Scott Mitchell, percussionist Daniella Ganeva and also the Duke Quartet. He presented an evening of minimalist works at the Barbican Hall for the BBC John Adams festival in 2002 with one such ensemble.
Simon has released 3 solo CD’s on the Black Box Music label, On Fire, Alone... and Frame, and most recently Mono'dia on John Harle's Sospiro label. He has also made CD's with Naxos, Virgin Classics, NMC and Cala Records.
His interest in technology has led Simon into the worlds of recording and producing, working on album projects for a diverse range of artists and record labels, from Richard Rodney Bennett to the Nash Ensemble.
Simon has worked at the Royal National Theatre on productions of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Pygmalion, All My Sons, Power, Mother Claps Molly House, Mourning Becomes Electra, Present Laughter, Major Barbara, The White Guard and London Road. He is also involved with the education departments of the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia and East of England Orchestra, working with children and adults both around Britain and Europe in composition, improvisation and music theatre workshops.