The Maestro of Music
Itís a question Dennis Simons says he gets asked a lot. "Given your background at much larger orchestras and bigger towns, why did you decide to come and teach in Minot?"
A loaded question, with a simple answer. But first letís get to know the man behind the baton. Simons, associate professor of music, was born in British Columbia, Canada and has a list of professional accomplishments long enough for any three distinguished musicians, including:
- Music Director of the Shreveport (La.) Symphony Orchestra
- Artistic Director and Conductor of the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) Symphony Orchestra
- Conductor of the Minot Symphony Orchestra
- Co-Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (U.K.)
- Concertmaster of the BBC Philharmonic
- Founder leader of the Alberni String Quartet (U.K.)
- Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, an honor held by only 250 living former students at any given time
- Distinguished solo violinist
But if you were to ask Simons which one of these he found to be the most important, he would say they were all important in shaping who he is as a person and musician. With all of that experience, he feels he has so much to give to students as a teacher and an educator; what he truly enjoys is being able to "actually go and make a difference."
"Being a life-long learner myself, I feel that a day I havenít learned something is a bad day," he said. For Simons itís not about a power trip of being in charge of something or someone, but simply "Iíve been able to do things for them (his students) that gave them an edge in the profession."
As for an answer to the first question, "With all your talent and ability, why are you here in Minot?", Simons says it comes back to the influence a talented educator had in Simonsí life growing up in rural Canada.
He feels lucky to have had a mentor to guide him at such a young age, that he now feels he can make that same difference in the lives of students here in Minot and throughout the region. Simons title, as he is known to the musicians he conducts in the Minot Symphony Orchestra, is Maestro.
Maestro is Italian for "teacher" or "master in any art." Both very accurate descriptions of Dennis Simons.