Director of String Studies + Graduate Advisor
A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov began playing the violin at age 5, and ten years later, came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California. He earned his DMA at USC’s Thornton School of Music where he studied with Midori. An active member of the IRIS Orchestra, Mr. Simeonov also performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera, Ensemble San Francisco, and until recently, served as the Concertmaster for the Sacramento Philharmonic. He has also served as a guest concertmaster with Reno Philharmonic and the Pacific Symphony. His doctoral studies included minor fields in Viola Performance, Schenkerian Analysis, Japanese Language, as well as an emphasis on the interpretation of Balkan folk music. On tour and in Los Angeles, Mr. Simeonov dedicates considerable time and energy to community engagement work and to musical activities and presentations for young people. Moni has performed and coached alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies Program American and International tours. Until 2014, he served as a director for the program. Outreach activities have taken him to places as diverse as homeless shelters in Los Angeles and at-risk centers in Tennessee, to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, and hospitals for the terminally ill in Sri Lanka.
Moni’s first CD recording was a result of his winning the Idyllwild Arts Academy Concerto Competition. Upon graduation from Idyllwild, he was named Most Outstanding Musician of his class. He continued his education at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Zvi Zeitlin on full scholarship, earned first prize at the school’s concerto competition, and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate. While at Eastman, Moni regularly performed on the school’s Antonio Stradivari of 1714. He also served as concertmaster for the Eastman Symphony, Philharmonia, and Opera Orchestras. Having earned his Artist Diploma from Yale University studying under Ani Kavafian, Moni completed his master’s in music there as well. He was the concertmaster for the Yale Opera, and Philharmonia Orchestras, as well as the New Music Ensemble. Following Yale, he earned his Graduate Certificate Degree from USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he studied with Midori and received the Outstanding Student Award.
Mr. Simeonov has attended several performance festivals, including Tanglewood, the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, and the Oregon Bach Festival.
In the summers, Moni Serves as a violin teacher at the Interlochen Summer Festival, the Singapore Violin Festival, and the Atlantic Music Festival. In 2021, he created Bulgaria’s first chamber music festival "Quartet Intensive" in Sofia.
Mr. Simeonov has concertized and taught around the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recordings have been archived by PBS, NPR, KUSC, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, as well as Japanese Broadcasting Company—NHK. Upcoming tour destinations include Japan, England, China, Singapore, and Lebanon.
Past chamber music collaborations have involved members of the Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, as well as Jerome Lowenthal, Giora Schmidt, Joseph Silverstein, Zvi Zeitlin and Midori.
Moni served as Adjunct Instructor of Violin and Chamber Music at USC’s Thornton School of Music until 2014. That year, he was appointed Director of String Studies and Violin Professor with the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. Moni is also on the faculty of the Colburn School of Music and the creator of zenviolin.com.