Carlos Simon, MM, DMA
Dr. Carlos Simon is a native of Atlanta, Georgia whose music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores, with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism.
Simon was named as one of the recipients for the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence. The Sphinx Medal of Excellence is the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, recognizing extraordinary classical Black and Latinx musicians. Along with a $50,000 career grant, Sphinx annually awards the Medals of Excellence to three artists who, early in their career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities. Simon’s latest album, My Ancestor’s Gift, was released on the Navona Records label in April 2018. Described as an “overall driving force” (Review Graveyard) and featured on Apple Music’s “Albums to Watch,” My Ancestor’s Gift incorporates spoken word and historic recordings to craft a multifaceted program of musical works that are inspired as much by the past as they are the present.
As a part of the Sundance Institute, Simon was named as a Sundance/Time Warner Composer Fellow in 2018, which was held at the historic Skywalker Ranch. His string quartet, Elegy, honoring the lives of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, was recently performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mason Bates JFK Jukebox Series. With support from the US Embassy in Tokyo and US/Japan Foundation, Simon traveled with the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) on a two-week tour of Japan in 2018, performing concerts at temples and concert spaces in Japan, including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Other recent accolades include being a Composer Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, winning the Underwood Emerging Composer Commission from the American Composers Orchestra in 2016, the prestigious Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Award in 2015, and the Presser Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation in 2015.
Recent commissions have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Reno Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, Irving Klein String Competition, Morehouse College celebrating its 150th founding anniversary, the University of Michigan Symphony Band celebrating the university’s 200th anniversary, Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire (American Music Festival), as well as serving as the young composer-in-residence with the Detroit Chamber String and Winds in 2016. Simon’s music has been performed by Tony Arnold, the Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Hub New Music Ensemble, the Asian/American New Music Institute, the Flint Symphony, the Color of Music Festival, University of North Texas Symphony Band, University of Miami Symphony Band, Georgia State University Wind Ensemble, and many other professional performance organizations. His piece, Let America Be America Again (text by Langston Hughes), is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary chronicling the inaugural Gabriela Lena Frank Academy of Music. He has served as a member of the music faculty at Spelman College and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and now serves as Assistant Professor at Georgetown University.