Simon Boyar

Simon Boyar's Biography

Considered by many to be among the most creative percussionists on the music scene today, Simon Boyar's resume reads like that of a musician more than twice his age. Electrifying audiences with his performances, Simon seeks to expand the repertory, perception and setting of the modern marimba, to spotlight it – literally and figuratively – as a solo instrument, and to incorporate it into the mainstream musical landscape.

Simon has presented the world premieres of numerous works for the marimba. He's performed internationally and at New York venues ranging from Lincoln Center to the Knitting Factory. As a featured guest artist on marimba and percussion, he has appeared with the New Jersey Symphony, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra, among others, and he has presented numerous solo recitals and concerts. Classical, jazz, hip-hop, pop and R&B are among the many genres besides classical in which he excels both as a live performer, lyricist, self-producer and recording artist. As a freelance marimbist and percussionist, he has performed under the baton of conductors like Kurt Masur, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, John Adams and Lukas Foss and alongside performers such as Emmanuel Ax, Evelyn Glennie and Joshua Bell. He has served as chairman of the Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Department, the youngest person ever to be named to this position, for which he created an innovative program focusing on all areas of percussion. And in February 2007, he was the featured soloist with violinist Guillermo Figueroa and the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein for the world premiere of a double violin/percussion concerto.

Before and after graduating from the Juilliard School in 2003, Simon's artistry has constantly been in demand. In late 2005, he was the featured guest artist with the Korean Symphony in Seoul, performing the world premiere of the revised version of the Loving Mad Tom marimba concerto by Andrew Thomas, one of the most revered marimba composers in the world. A few months later, he traveled to Poland to craft the first-ever recording of this groundbreaking work with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice. While there, he also recorded Thomas' double concerto for guitar/percussion, The Heroic Triad with classical guitar virtuoso David Leisner. He has appeared as a marimba soloist with the New Jersey Symphony under the baton of Sergiu Comissiona and as a percussion soloist with The Juilliard Orchestra with New York City Opera Maestro George Manahan. He was a member of the Gotham5 classical ensemble, which performed at Studio 54, and has been a guest soloist with the Exit 9 Percussion Group.

Simon was recently featured on the NPR show All Things Considered for breaking new ground in percussive music making. In addition, Simon has personally commissioned Frank Zappa's Revised Music for Guitar and Low Budget Orchestra to be arranged for Marimba and Orchestra by Tom Trapp. His is completing his first book, The Boyar Method, and under the direction of percussionist Jonathan Haas, the NYU percussion department has given him his own ensemble – The NYU Contemporary Marimba Ensemble.

Among his many honors, Simon won first place in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Auditions, The Juilliard concerto competition, and was a finalist in the prestigious Kingsville International Concerto Competition. At Juilliard, his awards included the Pfeiffenberger Memorial Scholarship, the William R. Hearst Scholarship, the E.M. Satterlee Scholarship, The Irving Ruckens Scholarship and The Henry Alderman Trust. His teachers have included David Fein, Greg Giannascoli, Greg Zuber and the legendary Joe Morello. He is an alumnus of The Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps Drum Line 96-97, which is part of the prestigious Drum Corps International Circuit.

Simon Boyar is a Yamaha Performing Artist and is currently a faculty member at NYU.

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