Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes is a visionary musician known for her creativity and innovative spirit. Whether as the founder and artistic director of Ensemble K, as a coveted guest conductor with many of the world's most respected orchestras or in her stunningly creative projects in partnership between music and other arts, Simone Menezes has established herself as a rapidly rising artist of a new generation.
Simone has conducted orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphonic Orchestra of Brazil, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Orchestre National de l'Opera de Lorraine, Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional, Osaka Symphony Orchestra, and at the Philharmonie de Paris. She has recorded two albums and premiered over 20 works. Her latest critically acclaimed album, ‘Metanoia’, was released in February 2022.
This 22/23 season will see Simone conduct performances with the LA Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre de Douai, and the Sinfonieorchester St Gallen. With Ensemble K, Simone will perform in Pairs, Venice, London, Lille and Brest. She will also conduct a recording of Ravel’s Piano Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
She has curated various themed projects, including the celebrated ‘Amazonia’: a collaboration between Simone and the great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, shining a spotlight on the ever-changing landscape of the Amazon rainforest.
From 2008 to 2012, Simone Menezes was music director of the Unicamp Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, recording two albums of Brazilian contemporary music, which were awarded "Best Brazilian Musical Project" by the Association of Musical Critics of Sao Paulo. In 2012, Marin Alsop took notice of Simone’s talents and invited Menezes to conduct at the Festival Campos do Jordão. Other work in Brazil includes several collaborations with EMESP / GURI, the State Youth Orchestra of São Paulo, with whom she has had the opportunity to conduct large-scale symphonic repertoire in concerts at the Sala São Paulo.
Simone Menezes regularly collaborates with her long-term mentor Paavo Järvi, assisting him over the years with orchestras such as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Berlin. At the age of 20 she formed her first orchestra in Brazil, the Camerata Latino Americana, a group specializing in the interpretation of Latin American repertoire. The work and model of this ground-breaking ensemble received recognition from the International Society for the Performing Arts of New York.
Simone Menezes studied conducting in Brazil, then at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris where she graduated after only one year of study. She regularly received tutelage from Colin Metters in London and developed her repertoire during residencies with the Remix Ensemble (Portugal) and Ensemble Multilaterale (Paris). Her mentors include Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin, Marin Alsop, Claudio Cruz Thomas Ades, and Lera Auerbach. In 2019, Simone Menezes won second prize at Mawoma (Maestra Music and Women's Competition) in Vienna. In 2020, she launched her new orchestra, Ensemble K, a flexible ensemble specializing in the larger chamber repertoire of the 20th century.