BassoonRyan Simmons

Ryan Simmons began playing in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 1998 after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the 2001-02 season he played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Associate Principal Bassoon, then spent two seasons as Principal Bassoonist of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In 2004 he won the national audition for the job of Second Bassoon in the SDSO. He also performed as Principal Bassoon of Orchestra Nova San Diego. He has studied with a few of the legendary bassoon teachers including Bernard Garfield, Steven Maxym and Norman Herzberg. He has played and participated in many festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, Mainly Mozart and La Jolla SummerFest. He has also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Philarmonica de Tenerife and the Moscow Radio Orchestra.

In addition to performing, Ryan Simmons is the owner of RS Woodwinds, a woodwind repair shop. He has worked on several of the instruments played by the members of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as well as their students' instruments. He is certified to install Straubinger pads in flutes and clarinets, and has very successfully repaired most of the top makes of woodwind instruments including: Brannen, Powell and Haynes flutes, Heckel and Pucner bassoons, Loree oboes, Buffet clarinets and bass clarinets, vintage Selmer saxophones and various modern Irish flutes and chanters. 


Q: How did you choose your instrument? 

A: I chose my instrument because I had seen a broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic on TV and thought that the bassoon had the most interesting sound, and looked rather unique. 

Q: What are three of your favorite movies? 

A: Children Of Paradise (1945), VatelThe Big Lebowski

Q: Who are some favorite composers? 

A: Bach, Schubert, Telemann, Haydn, Vivaldi, Mahler, Stravinsky, Strauss, Schoenberg. 

Q: What is a favorite place to eat in San Diego? 

A: Azucar, Cuban bakery in Ocean Beach

Q: Where might you be found on a Saturday night if you’re not performing with the Orchestra? 

A: I'd probably be repairing instruments! 

Q: The San Diego Symphony Orchestra is essential to San Diego because…?

A: To see and hear 80 musicians of this orchestra performing live in our hall is truly beyond words. The power of an orchestra playing great music is something that people can't possibly imagine or fully appreciate until they experience it for themselves. Although San Diego has amazing weather, surfing, and natural beauty, its symphony presents the most pure aural and emotional experience that can be had.