Acting Associate Principal Cello

Jan Simiz, assistant principal cello for The Phoenix Symphony, was born in Barcea, Romania, and his musical career on the cello began by chance. In Romania, most children are introduced to music at a very early age, usually in pre-school. Simiz began late, at age nine, and his only option at the time was the cello. Eventually, he became an award-winning cellist in his native land.

In 1980 Simiz arrived in Los Angeles and won the principal cellist position with Neal Stulberg and the Young Musicians' Foundation “Debut” Orchestra. He continued his studies at the University of Southern California, where he earned his master's degree in cello performance. Jan's teachers include Eleanore Schoenfeld, former head of the string department, and Gabor Rejto, an eminent cellist and teacher who also performed in the Alma Trio. Additionally, Simiz took master classes with Lynn Harrell, Zara Nelsova and Ronald Leonard.

Prior to joining The Phoenix Symphony in 1985, he played with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra for one year. While at USC, he met and married Maria Lane, also a cellist, who teaches, and occasionally substitutes with The Phoenix Symphony.

In addition to classical music, Simiz enjoys jazz and some rock. He also appreciates fine art, especially the works of the Impressionists, and a variety of fine cuisine, particularly Chinese. When not performing with The Phoenix Symphony, Simiz plays with Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra and various trio, quartet and quintet groups. In his free time, he enjoys photography and playing soccer, because as he says, “everyone in Romania plays soccer.”