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Simon Chalk 


“Dynamic”… “passionate… “committed”… “devilish but with a great sense of fun”… “a musician’s conductor”.

These are not the words of a music critic but those of Simon’s many orchestral colleagues throughout the world with

whom he has been fortunate to share a platform thus far. They are some of the finest musicians, playing in some of

the world’s finest orchestras, including the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the

Shanghai Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Kazakhstan,

the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak Sinfonietta (State Chamber Orchestra of Slovakia).

Alongside these illustrious ensembles Simon has conducted orchestras in over 70 countries, across a plethora of

musical genres, to tens of thousands of concert goers. He has appeared at many of the world’s most iconic venues,

from the Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House to the O2 in London and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas to name

but a few, working alongside some of the finest soloists including Peter Donohoe, Eugen Indjic, Nicholas Daniel,

Catrin Finch, Craig Ogden as well as musicians from many other musical styles including IL Divo, Lea Salonga, Alfie

Boe, Kathryn Jenkins, Russell Watson, Alice Cooper, Roger Daltrey, Barry Manilow and Johnny Mathis.

Simon was born and educated in Oakdale, a small mining village in South Wales, and began playing the violin aged

11. He received his formative musical training from Gwent County Music Service and has remained a committed

supporter to this type of publicly-funded music education throughout his career. At the Birmingham Conservatoire

(now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) he studied conducting with Jonathan Del Mar, Omri Hadari and John Carewe,

and violin with James Coles and Roger Coull and, following a period of postgraduate violin study in Manchester with

Malcolm Layfield, he then spent his early career as the leader of the Almira String Quartet. During his many years as

a violinist he was also a principal player and guest with many of the UK’s leading ensembles.

In 2011 the lure of the podium could no longer be resisted and Simon relinquished the ‘bow for the baton’ as he

took up the invitation to conduct orchestras for the international vocal quartet IL Divo, beginning his new life in at

the deep end with a live DVD recorded in the London Coliseum with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This was the

beginning of his transition from player to conductor and led to more than three years on the road.

His first major appointment came in 2015 when he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta where

he now continues his relationship as Principal Guest Conductor. He has developed a wonderful ongoing relationship

with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra where he is a guest conductor, returning each season since his first in

2014, and is proud to be one of only a handful of British conductors – and the only Welshman - to be afforded the

honour of working with the orchestra in its near 140 year history.

Simon has made numerous recordings, including two live DVDs with IL Divo and multiple discs with Southern

Sinfonia, and has been a prize-winner in several international conducting competitions - most notably in Romania

where, in June last year, he was the winner of the inaugural ‘Orchestra’s Conductor Competition’, the first

competition of its kind where the winner was chosen by the members of the orchestra, The Brasov Philharmonic. He

has been both honoured and delighted to be working with the orchestra recently as part of this win. In January 2018

Simon was honoured by the Slovak government through the award of a 'Diploma of Appreciation' in recognition of

extraordinary merits in the development of friendly relationships with the Slovak Republic.

Simon continues to be in great demand throughout Europe and beyond and has an active schedule in the UK as the

Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Southern Sinfonia. Season 2023/24 highlights include return visits to

both Slovakia and to Romania (Brasov and Satu Mare), alongside the launch of a new season of concerts with the

Sinfonia throughout the South of England.

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