Carlos Simon, a versatile composer, arranger and musician, combines the inﬂuences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism in his music. Simon was named the winner of the 2015 Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest. Serving as music director and keyboardist for GRAMMY Award winner Jennifer Holliday, Simon has performed with the Boston Pops Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and the St. Louis Symphony. Mr. Simon is currently earning his doctorate degree at the University of Michigan, where he has studied with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. Simon received his Master’s Degree at Georgia State University studying with Nickitas Demos and earned his Bachelors Degree at Morehouse College studying with Robert Tanner. In 2011, Simon was on faculty at Morehouse college, teaching music theory. For the 2015-2016 season, Carlos Simon will serve as the young composer in-residence for the Detroit Chamber Strings and Winds.
As the son of a preacher, I grew up hearing the exciting stories of the Bible. Plagues of Egypt is the ﬁrst of several pieces that will be apart of a larger work entitled, Bible Stories. The goal of this piece is to recount the tale from the point of view of the Pharaoh, who stubbornly holds the freedom of the Jewish people. With the entrance of each plague, light metallic sounds of the harp, celeste and percussion are coupled with static strings depicting the spirit of God. From the frogs and boils to the swarm of pestilence, Pharaoh refuses let the Jewish people go. Two heavy jabs are used in the orchestra throughout the entirety of the piece to show Pharaoh’s “hardened heart”. It is only with the “Angel of Death” which takes the life of Pharaoh’s ﬁrst born child that these motions are climaxed with his despair. The jabs are eventually broken down to single instruments by the conclusion as his stubbornness is brought to a desperate whimper.