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Adam Simmons : Associate Artist

As a young undergraduate, Rodin's thoughts about "The Usefulness of the Artist" helped me appreciate the value of committing to a music career. Almost thirty years later, I understand art as fundamental to human existence through bringing community together in shared experience and transfer of knowledge, wisdom and empathy.

Photo of Adam Simmons

Photo: Mark Chew

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Since graduating from VCA in 1992, Adam Simmons has worked in Melbourne and internationally with influential groups and artists such as Ernest Ranglin, Nigel Kennedy, Peter Brotzmann, Ned Rothenberg, John Hollenbeck, Alessandra Garosi, Odean Pope, Denis Colin, bucketrider, the Pearly Shells, BOLT Ensemble, Bennetts Lane Big Band, Spiderbait, Kutcha Edwards, You Am I, Gotye, Clocked Out, Tony Gould, Sandy Evans, Roger Frampton, John Pochee, Noriko Tadano, Wang Zheng Ting, David Jones, Ted Vining, David Chesworth, Clinton Green, Niko Schauble, Pugsley Buzzard, and many more

Ensembles led or co-led by Adam include Origami, Collider, La Societe des Antipodes (French/Australian), Adam Simmons Quartet, Adam Simmons Toy Band, Adam Simmons Creative Music Ensemble and New Blood.

Adam has taught at all levels from beginner to Master's at various primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Currently Adam is teaching shakuhachi at University of Melbourne and giving instrumental woodwind lessons at Victorian College of the Arts. Adam has given workshops at various institutions/festivals including Messina Conservatorium (Sicily), Wentworth Arts Festival (Mildura), Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Squawkestra, National Youth Jazz Academy, Ballarat University, Goulburn Conservatorium, the Music Place, and others.

In addition, Adam has previously worked in visual arts, creating sculptural music box assemblages - he was represented by Catherine Asquith Gallery in Melbourne. He first exhibited in the SMS Exhibition held in Melbourne in 2009 and in Oct 2010 at Museum Narodowe in Szczecin, and was a selected finalist in the 2010 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (Sydney), 2011 at the Hutchins Art Prize (Hobart), Banyule Award for Works on Paper (receiving a High Commendation award), and the Deakin University Small Sculpture Award. The sculptures have been used in performance at Quartetthaus and also in collaboration with Speak Percussion.

In 2014 highlights included the world premiere of Billy Tea to Burgers, a new suite for Origami, releasing The Fourth Perfection CD of solo shakuhachi inspired by Chinese art, receiving standing ovations at Dark MOFO with Nick Tsiavos Ensemble, commissions from Melbourne Museum for a piece with the Federation Bells and Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka to create a choral work celebrating Eureka's 160th anniversary. In addition Adam staged the Festival of Slow Music for the second time.

In 2015 Adam presented the third Festival of Slow Music, launched Shakuhachi Melbourne, a new community ensemble for all levels, premiered his Concerto for Piano and Toy Band featuring Michael Kieran Harvey, was part of Nick Tsiavos's 15-hour Immersion overnight performance at Dark MOFO. As part of a University of Melbourne engagement project he worked with Kids off the Kerb in creating an ensemble performing on recycled whitegoods. He released two new recordings: Sixteen Alleluias (with Nick Tsiavos) and Billy Tea to Burgers (double CD with Origami). In November, Adam presented 100:25:1, a large-scale project at Conduit Arts featuring Adam performing duets with 100 different artists across 25 nights, as the beginning of research into mapping Melbourne's musician networks.

Selected career highlights include a commission for Speak Percussion and Michael Kieran Harvey (2012), premiere of concerto by Orio Odori with Philharmonic Orchestra of Loro Ciuffenna (Italy 2012), Special Award from Freedman Foundation (2004), Music Omi Artist Residency (USA, Fellowship 2001, Guest Curator 2007), Green Room Awards for Musical Direction (2003 & 2004), Adam Simmons Retrospective, featuring 40 different acts over three week (2006).

Adam is a Selmer artist and performs exclusively on a SELMER Paris Privilege bass clarinet.

Adam is a Temby artist and performs exclusively on Temby saxophones (alto, tenor) and flutes.


Adam Simmons — current to January 2017