Greg SimonAssistant Professor of Composition, Area Head for Composition
Area of Focus: Composition, Jazz Studies
M.M. University of Colorado Boulder, 2010
B.A. University of Puget Sound, 2007
Greg Simon is Assistant Professor of Composition (Concert/Jazz/Commercial) in the Glenn Korff School of Music. He oversees the Flyover New Music Series and is the director of the UNL Jazz Orchestra, as well as teaching courses in composition, orchestration, jazz arranging/improvisation, and special topics in musicology. During the summer, Dr. Simon serves on the composition artist-faculty at the Brevard Music Center.
Dr. Simon’s works have been performed by ensembles and performers around the country, including Alarm Will Sound, the Fifth House Ensemble, the Playground Ensemble of Denver, and the California All-State Symphonic Band. He has presented work at conferences for the American Band College, the College Band Directors’ National Association, the World Saxophone Congress, and the North American Saxophone Alliance, as well as being featured in radio and digital broadcasts from Pendulum New Music and WFMT. Dr. Simon won second prize in the Moscow Conservatory's 2020 New Classics Competition, and first prize in the National Association of Composers/USA (NACUSA) 37th Annual Young Composer's Competition; other awards and honors include the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition from the University of Michigan, the POLYPHONOS national commission from the Esoterics, and first prize in the TorQ Percussion Quartet’s first annual Composition Competition, with further recognition from Phantom Brass, the Pacific Chorale, and CBDNA, among others. Dr. Simon was the recipient of the 2018 Nebraska Music Teachers' Association Commission and the 2015 Young Composer-in-Residence for the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. His music is published by Hal Leonard; and recordings are available from the Blue Griffin, Equilibrium, Open G, Fifth House, SMS Classical, and Terpsichore labels, as well as in the Naxos of America catalogue.
As a jazz trumpeter, Dr. Simon studied with Bill Lucas, Ellen Rowe, and Brad Goode. He’s performed with the Marcus Lewis Big Band, the Shawn Bell Quartet, the Rhythm Society Orchestra, the Jodi-Renee Band, and many others, at venues ranging from The Jewell jazz club in Omaha to Brooklyn's Shapeshifter Lab; and played in the bands of The Temptations, Hannah Huston, and Andrew Dost of fun. As part of his ongoing efforts to bridge the classical and jazz worlds, he’s premiered and presented works for improvising musicians by a variety of composers, including Stephen Rush, Hunter Ewen, Michael Theodore, and himself. Currently, Dr. Simon plays trumpet/flugelhorn alongside his colleagues in the UNL Faculty Jazz Ensemble, and is an active freelancer in the Lincoln and Omaha jazz communities. He also stays busy as a jazz pedagogue, having worked with the Detroit Symphony Civic Jazz Orchestra and given clinics at the Westside Jazz Festival and the University of Michigan Jazz Festival. Currently, he is working on a series of compositions for mixed jazz/concert ensemble with electronics.
Prior to his appointment at UNL, Dr. Simon taught at Concordia University Ann Arbor, the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado.
More information is available at www.gregsimonmusic.com.
What do you enjoy the most about being on the faculty at the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Simon: I love working in a place that encourages everyone — students and faculty alike — to try new and different things. I teach composition and jazz, but I’ve also been given the opportunity to create new classes about some of my favorite topics: American composers, Latin American protest music, improvisation. Student composers here are encouraged to break boundaries of genre and style, and the performance/conducting faculty are totally supportive of their efforts. It all sums to a really special creative environment.
What do you want others to know about the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Simon: There are endless possibilities here for creation and collaboration, inside and outside the Glenn Korff School of Music. Our students perform in every conceivable configuration, and dream up amazing things in collaboration with the dance department, not to mention students from film, art, and all over campus. As a composer at Nebraska, you can do anything.
What are you most proud of in the area you work for the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Simon: Our Flyover New Music Series, only in its second season, is already featuring unforgettable concerts and drawing terrific support from audiences. Flyover concerts feature music by our composers, and they've included some of the strongest and most captivating performances to be found in Lincoln. Our Flyover student volunteer committee is hardworking and brimming with new ideas for the series. I’m so proud of the way Flyover has exploded in its short history, and I can’t wait to see how it grows next.
What do you like to do outside of the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Simon: I’m a hockey fan and a long-suffering San Jose Sharks supporter — you’ll often catch me in a teal jersey at Lincoln Stars games. I’m a lover of microbrews, and eastern Nebraska is a quiet paradise for beer drinkers. I’m also involved in a lifelong search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie (Lincoln’s got a few contenders). I like hiking during the warmer months, and snowboarding when it’s cold (and I can get to a place with some mountains!). When I’m not doing those things, I love stories in all their forms: video games, reading, film, theatre, art. Kelly Link’s short stories and Hideo Kojima's video games are my latest obsession.
Anything else you would like to add?
Simon: At Nebraska, our composers come from everywhere. We’ve got students who are traditionally trained in classical music, but others who are jazz musicians, bluegrass musicians, and singer/songwriters as well. They want to do all sorts of things post-graduation, ranging from classical composition all the way to forming and composing for a folk-rock group. Not only do we support this diversity, we think that having such wildly different students helps everyone become better artists. No matter what your musical background or aspirations, if you love to write music, you’ll find a place in the GKSOM.