He has won International auditions and played principal clarinet with the Rishon orchestra in Israel (where he was offered tenure) and the the Banff opera orchestra as well as Philharmonia west and the Kelowna Pops orchestra amongst others. He was accepted into Banff as an Artist in residence and into the Banff and Sarasota (Florida) festivals. He has performed chamber music and solo recitals with many of the finest musicians, including Jasper Wood, Shauna Rolston, Arnold Draper and George Zuckerman... He is principal clarinet with the Prince George Symphony.
Simon studied with Emilio Iacurto at McGill, an Italian clarinetist of the Bel canto school of playing and with Tom Telamantes. He also played in the master classes of many great clarinetists including Frank Cohen, Michele Zukovsky, Stanley Hasty, Robert Marcellus and Allen Hacker and studied with Micheal Doumachell and Bob Crowley of the MSO. His first clarinet teacher was Joan Riley in high school. He started playing professionally while still in high school as the principal clarinet in several opera orchestras. His first instrument was the recorder which he started in grade 2, by grade 3 was teaching it to other classes. He has now been teaching for 50 years.
His Solo CD The Art of Melody, which was the first classical CD to ever come out of Prince George has been distributed around the world and played on the CBC.
He regularly appears as a soloist outside Prince George at chamber music festivals, for concert associations, on tour and was a soloist at the International clarinet festival, he has performed most of the major concertos (in over 60 appearances) for clarinet with orchestra from Mozart to Nielsen.
What the critics say about his playing:
"The Clarinet Concerto in A Major K. 622 was the perfect opportunity to showcase the instrument and the superb musical talent of Simon Cole.
This is an example of hearing orchestra and soloist enter into a musical conversation. Played in three movements, the music seems familiar by dint of its survival since 1791 and because of its association with movies like Out of Africa and, more recently, The King’s Speech. Understandably popular, this pretty, appealing music affords an opportunity for the clarinet to stand out and be truly appreciated for its dulcet tones. Particularly during the adagio, there was a reassuring sense of serenity in the notes.
The sweet clarinet sound led the orchestra through the movement. \"V.Gilles Citizen(2011)
appreciative standing ovation acknowledging Cole\'s interpretation (Mozart clarinet concerto)
Giles Citizen (2005)
[clarinetist Simon] Cole and [flutist Don] Bond brought to the audience a most amazing tribute to Fryderyk Chopin, composed by Canadian Ronald Royer
The highlight of the evening was Aaron Copland\'s clarinet concerto played by guest clarinetists Simon Cole...Simon Cole a talented local musician is at least of national standing and possibly world class. As such he produced some beautiful sounds from the clarinet that really showed off both his and the instruments capabilities M.Nash PG This Week
\"Kelowna’s well-loved pianist, Arnold Draper, with two of Canada’s shining stars, Simon Cole
and Jasper Wood\"
the clarinet concerto by Aaron Copland and it was performed spectacularly by Simon Cole...Cole demonstrated his excellent musicianship in the very demanding cadenza...this was the highlight of the evening
A.Murray Prince George Citizen
Simon Cole played Weber concerto#2 a piece of amazing technical demand, it was played with incredible precision at blinding speed and was a personal highlight
D. Anderson Fort Nelson Daily News
Simon Coles playing of the Nielsen Concerto was virtuosity of the highest order with impeccable tone and technique Cole remained in complete command of the work
Clive Keen Prince George Citizen
Cole performed a stunning Rondo on the saxophone ( Haydn Gypsy Rondo)
One of the finest moments for me in many a concert came when Simon Cole , Principal clarinet took a marvellous melody out from behind the curtain and filled it with mystery and led us into a wonderfully moving conclusion
Simon Cole got a standing ovation for Weber\'s concerto #1...the audience response when the piece ended was instantaneous
"The Alban trio played warmly\" \"Cole and Wood were admirable..and turned in a rousing performance to great acclaim
Charles Velte Kelowna Courier
Then followed “Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio” from La Clemenza di Tito Melanie Nichol sang deliberate phrasings over the melodic notes of Simon Cole’s clarinet. Plaintive emotion and longing are exquisitely expressed through that instrument.
Bruce Citizen 2013
What Great players say about his playing:
A fantastic clarinetists, most of the worlds great Orchestras do not have such a player
W. Kushner Berlin philharmonic
Simon Cole has every ability and quality a musician could want
Noam Sheriff Conductor, Israel
"Talented and gifted, using the clarinet to express and communicate\"
Richard Stoltzman clarinetist/recording artist
What the critics say about his compositions:
Kalinsky Duff proved to be a beautiful piece of music
Fort Nelson daily News
An impressed audience gave the (Irish) symphony a standing ovation.
(Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra)
the audience was taken on roller coaster ride of swiftly changing moods and tempos that showcased Cole\'s breathtaking technique on clarinet. They were rewarded with a stunningly beautiful coda with the clarinet playing a gorgeous melody of long notes in the highest range.
The Spirit of the One Song arts reception and grand performance was an amazing
showcase of local talent culminating in a feeling of community that spread
throughout the theater space Citizen
What the worlds top players say about his compositions:
I particularly enjoyed your rhapsody for clarinet, keep on composing!\"
Pamela Weston one of the world\'s foremost researchers and writers on the clarinet Author of "Clarinet virtuosos
I listened to your rhapsody for clarinet BRAVO!!!\"
Richard Stoltzman clarinetist/recording artist