“I live to make music. It is the most direct way to touch the heart of humanity. Offering something pure and intangible to take away with them. In this small way I try to give something good back into the world.“
Growing up in New Zealand with a Swiss father and South African mother, then moving to Switzerland in 2004 has given Simone quite a multicultural background. As well as classical music, Simone has travelled to Tokyo to perform in a concert dedicated to “World Peace” with a hip hop group; and when she was 8 years old toured China, Taiwan and Japan with the Swiss Kiwi Yodelers’ Group playing Appenzell music.
Simone has travelled around Switzerland and Europe not only playing in different ensembles like Spira mirabilis, Orchestra d’ella Svizzera Italiana, Camerata Bern, Geneva Camerata, 21st Century Orchestra, and various orchestras in Bern, but also as chamber musician and soloist in Switzerland, France and New Zealand.
In 2012 she became the Primarius of the Faust Quartett. This different type of music making requires a new higher level of musicianship and technical awareness. Combining the best skills of orchestral playing and soloist playing, being part a string quartet is one of the most challenging musical roles. Still being part of a team (albeit a smaller one) the responsibility of each musician is much greater – only one person per part, and no director. It requires meticulous preparation and is difficult, time-consuming work. However the results are ultimately truly rewarding. The benefit of this individual responsibility is the direct contact between the players, which in turn creates a more intimate connection with the audience – straight to the heart.
Through chamber music and orchestras the violin has taken her to places such as Austria, Australia, China, Denmark, England, France, Holland, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Singapore, and around New Zealand.
Simone was born in Auckland, New Zealand and started violin lessons with her twin brother as a pre-schooler. She attended St Cuthbert’s College as a scholarship student and continued on to complete her Masters at the University of Auckland with Mary O’Brien in 2004 and was awarded the Senior Prize for the highest postgraduate mark. During her time in New Zealand she won the National Chamber Music Competition twice, was concertmaster of various youth orchestras from the age of 11, appeared on National Radio and Television, and performed most of the major violin concertos as a soloist with orchestra.
She continued her studies in Switzerland completeing a Konzertdiplom with Monika Urbaniak at the Hochschule der Künste Bern and was the first ever New Zealander to be accepted into the Thy Chambermusic Course in Denmark. In 2007 she began studying with Giuliano Carmignola in his Soloist Class at Lucerne’s Conservatory of Music. She was awarded the Edwin Fischer Prize for best Soloisten Diplom 2009 and performed Chausson’s Poeme as the soloist with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in one of Europe’s best performance venues: the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern.
In 2012 she was the soloist in Brahms’s Violin Concerto in Paris and won the position of co-soloist of the second violins in the Geneva Chamber Orchestra. Attending projects with Spira mirabilis she toured regularly to Italy, Germany, and England. In this ensemble she works with the top young musicians from Europe and the world. In 2008 she organised a recital tour to New Zealand with her pianist Petya Mihneva and part of the tour included a solo performance with St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra. This was such a success that it was repeated again in 2010 (this time including the South Island) culminating with a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. She has worked regularly with composers in NZ and Switzerland to realise their music for recordings and premier performances.