Maestro Simon spearheaded the Handel revival in the 1970s and 1980s, and he was music director of the Handel Society of New York. His performance editions of little known operas and oratorios introduced Handel to American audiences, as did his numerous recordings. His recordings of Handel’s oratorios and operas won wide acclaim, including a Grammy Award nomination for Best Choral Recording (1971). He also established the Handel Festival at the Kennedy Center. The Handel Festival Orchestra received rave reviews in Europe and on tour in the Northeast. For many years he was a regular guest conductor at the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany, Handel’s birthplace.
In his role as Music Director and Conductor of the Washington Chamber Symphony, Simon brought a varied repertoire and joyful new interpretations of known and unknown works, treating audiences to Beethoven Symphonies with Beethoven-sized orchestras and new works that proved that not all contemporary works are painful. He also resurrected forgotten symphonies by composers such as Clementi and Voricek, the Czech Mozart. During these years he also conducted and co-created with Bonnie Ward Simon extremely successful multi-generational programming for young people, their parents, and grandparents. The Washington Chamber Symphony Concerts for Young People series enjoyed over a decade of sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center, educating and delighting parents, grandparents, and children ages 6-12.
Simon recorded The Complete Mozart Piano Concerti with the legendary Mme. Lili Kraus as the soloist for CBS/SONY, and the award-winning Complete Beethoven Piano Concerti with pianist Anthony Newman performing on a fortepiano of the period with an orchestra of original instruments for Newport Classics. Stories in Music® is Simon’s first series of recordings for young people.
Stephen Simon has loved music from boyhood, and remembers listening the great church organists of Manhattan on Sunday afternoons when he was a child. He attended Oberlin College, received his B.M. from the Yale School of Music, and studied conducting with the legendary Josef Krips in San Francisco. He subsequently became Music Director of The County Symphony in Westchester, NY, where he founded the A Summer of Music on the Hudson concert series on the Jay Gould estate known as Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York.
Simon recently conducted the National Gallery of Art Orchestra in a concert commemorating the great portrait artist Gilbert Stuart. The concert premiered Simon’s arrangement of three movements from Richard Bales’ Music of the Revolution for full orchestra and glass armonica. He is the music director of the Simon Sinfonietta in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Maestro Simon's Discography
Bonnie Ward Simon is President of Simon & Simon, LLC and Maestro Classics™ (formerly Magic Maestro Music®). She is also the Executive Producer and Creative Director for Stories in Music™. From 1989-1998, she was the Executive Director of the Washington Chamber Symphony, the resident chamber orchestra at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. She has served as an advisor to Scholastic Publications and is an internationally published writer in the fields of music and children.
During her years as Executive Director of the Washington Chamber Symphony, Bonnie Ward Simon became well known as the co-creator of their widely acclaimed multigenerational programming. The Chamber Symphony’s Concerts for Young People series enjoyed over a decade of sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center, educating and delighting parents, grandparents, and children ages 6-12. She founded Viva Vivaldi!™, the Re-Creation of Vivaldi’s All-Girl Orchestra, the international competition for young women held at the Kennedy Center. With partner and husband, Stephen Simon, she co-created the Great Composer Series and the Stories in Music™ series in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, as well as the Annual Holiday Sing-Along, which The Wall Street Journal called “the hottest holiday ticket” in Washington, DC.
She is the author of a new narration for The Tortoise and the Hare, a work for symphony orchestra and narrator, with music composed by Stephen Simon. This work, that premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1995, was performed by the Boston Pops in 1996 and is now released as a title on the Stories in Music® series.
Bonnie Ward Simon is the creator of the program books for the Stories in Music™ series as well as being the female voice on all of the Stories in Music™ CDs.
She holds degrees in music (Vassar College) and music education (New Jersey State College), as well as Japanese Labor Relations, Modern Japanese History, and Ancient Chinese History (Columbia University). She has also taught middle school music, worked in administration at Carnegie Hall, and written extensively for Washington Parent Magazine. Before moving to Washington, DC, she served on the boards of directors of Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum of Art, and New York City Opera.
Bonnie Ward Simon is the mother of Basil and Sebastian Simon, the stepmother of David, Daniel, James, and Adam Simon, and the pack leader for Marigold Simon, their golden retriever. She loves to sail, skis in the winter, travels, sews, knits, paints, and delights in the seasonal changes in Central Park.
Yadu is the stage name for Dr. Konrad Czynski, a very popular professor of Humanities at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Often asked where “Yadu” came from, Maestro Simon explains that his young son Basil could not pronounce “Konrad” and somehow it came out as “Yadu.” When “Dr. Czynski” seemed a bit too formal for a children’s stories-in-music narrator, they both turned to his familial nickname.
Dr. Czynski earned his B.A. from Fordham University, majoring in sociology and philosophy, and subsequently went on to graduate school at Columbia University in the department of Religion. Deciding to specialize in Asian Studies, he went to the F.A.L.C.O.N. intensive language program at Cornell University to study Chinese. Returning to Columbia’s department of East Asian Languages and Cultures he completed his M.A. in ancient Chinese history, after which he continued studying Japanese at the Stanford Inter-University Center in Tokyo. To bridge his interests at Columbia, he obtained a second M.A. degree with honors, in the Department of French and Romance Languages, in the area of Japanese and French comparative literature. He subsequently returned to Japan on a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to do dissertation-research at Tokyo University and other archives, continuing on to pursue archival research in Paris, where he had earned the D.E.A. degree at the University of Paris VII. Upon successful defense of his thesis at Columbia, he earned his Ph.D., having been awarded the best departmental dissertation of that year.
Dr. Czynski has taught at the Lyçée Francois Villon, Paris, the School of General Studies at Columbia University, Barnard College, the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and is currently a tenured associate professor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead in the Philosophy department. He has published a variety of articles in French and English on literary and other subjects. He continues to work on a Civil War play, and a scholarly project on the American photographer William Henry Jackson as well as a study of the sources, narrative structure, and themes of Robert Penn Warren’s epic-poem Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, based on manuscript-research at Yale University’s Beinecke Library.
Yadu’s career as a reader began in high school where he won awards for his poetry reading. He was first invited to narrate at the Kennedy Center in 1992, and he performed there annually at Young People’s Concerts with the Washington Chamber Symphony for the next decade. When seeking a narrator for the Stories in Music CD series in 2004, he was the obvious choice. He now has seven award-winning CDs to his credit.
Rebecca E. Bond
Ever since she was a little girl playing school with her sister, Christine Hiester has been acquainted with a deep desire to teach. Now, as she homeschools and disciples her own four children- three boys and a girl ranging in age from 10 down to 3 years old- that desire is fulfilled each day. Christine is a musician by trade and spent her childhood and teenage years learning many different instruments, including trumpet, percussion and violin, before settling on a career path toward a performance degree in classical voice. At the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, she received a double bachelor's degree in performance and music education. She taught elementary music at a private girl's school in Coconut Grove, Florida before moving to Cincinnati to study at the prestigious College-Conservatory of Music. While at the University of Cincinnati's conservatory, she earned a double master's degree in vocal performance, with a special fondness for 20th century music, and choral conducting. Christine now lives with her husband and their four children near Columbus, Ohio where she is a voice teacher and freelance performer, singing with local choirs and orchestras. She is the director of the Central Ohio Homeschool Choir</a> which serves the musical needs of more than 100 families in the greater Columbus area. Christine can be found online as a regular contributor to the Christian homeschooling magazine The Heart of the Matter.
Dr. Kay Edwards
Dr. Kay Edwards, Associate Professor and chair of the Music Education Area, teaches courses in general music (for music majors and early childhood education majors), supervises student teachers, and teaches graduate music education courses. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Ohio University, and both a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University. She has taught at Oberlin Conservatory, UNC-Greensboro, and in public schools for over 25 years.
A specialist in early childhood and elementary general music, Kay has Orff Level III certification as well as special training in Kodály and Dalcroze. She has presented at conferences of Music Educators National Conference (MENC), AOSA, OAKE, ISME, and numerous state conferences. Recent presentations include The Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities (2010, 2007, 2005), MENC (2010, 2004) and the Ohio Music Education Association (2011, 2008, 2006, 2004).
Co-author of a textbook entitled Prelude to Music Education (Prentice-Hall, 2003), Kay is a contributing author to Silver Burdett Ginn/Scott Foresman's basal series textbooks Making Music (2008, 2005, 2002) and The Music Connection (1995/2000), used nationwide, and wrote listening lessons for Cincinnati-based public radio station WGUC's website "Classics for Kids." Most recently, she has written the Teacher Education Materials for the Maestro Classics website.
Kay has published articles in the Music Educators Journal, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Tempo, Southeastern Journal of Music Education, General Music Today, TRIAD, and The North Carolina Music Educator. Kay is also a contributing author to several MENC publications such as Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education (2011, 1996) and the Strategies for Teaching series.
Kay has received several grants for her work in multicultural music education. A specialist in Native American music for the classroom, Kay recently completed a group of biographical entries for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Formerly a member of the national Advisory Board for Music Educators Journal, she currently serves on the editorial boards for General Music Today and for the Ohio-based research journal, Contributions to Music Education.
Elizabeth Forbes Armstrong