Clarinetist Simon Cole has been Principal Clarinet with the PGSO since the late 80’s. During that time he has also won international auditions and played principal clarinet with the Rishon Orchestra Israel (where he was offered tenure), the Banff Opera Orchestra, Philharmonia West, Kelowna Pops Orchestra and others. He has performed chamber music and solo recitals with many of the country’s finest musicians, including Jasper Wood, Shauna Rolston, Arnold Draper and George Zukerman.
Simon studied with Emilio Lacurto at McGill, an Italian clarinetist of the Bel Canto school of playing, and with Mike Dumachel and Robert Crowly of the MSO. He has also studied in the master classes of many great clarinetists including Robert Marcellus, Frank Cohen, Michele Zukovsky, Stanley Hasty and Allen Hacker.
His CD The Art of Melody, which was the first classical CD to ever come out of Prince George, has been sold around the world. He regularly appears as a soloist outside Prince George at chamber music festivals and for concert associations and has performed most of the major concertos for clarinet.
His group Alban Classical has toured remote communities giving school concerts. They have performed in most communities in BC and the Yukon, from Hartley Bay on the coast to as far as Old Crow in the northern Yukon. Well over 10,000 children have enjoyed Alban Classical school concerts.
Simon Cole is also a composer who reflects the natural beauty of the Canadian North in his music. A recent project is The One Song. He has also composed a number of other orchestral works, one of which you can hear on the PGSO’s CD conducted by Georg Tintner.
He recently performed his Rhapsody for clarinet and piano as guest soloist for the international clarinet association. His compositions and clarinet playing have been broadcast provincially and nationally on CBC.
Simon’s students are very successful; they have won top prizes, many concerto competitions, score top marks in their exams and often perform with the PGSO. You will find his students working as musicians and teachers throughout Canada and the US. Simon runs Cole’s Woodwinds , which does repairs and provides supplies.
Simon enjoys hiking with his dogs and Hapkido. He is a certified Website designer/computer tech.