Composer and pianist Austin Simonds (b. 1996) has been praised for his use of thought-provoking themes connected to literature, philosophy, the macabre, and the human psyche. Much of his work deals with lyricism, texture manipulation, and often contains a narrative or programmatic element. Award-winning composer Claudia Howard Queen described his work as "passionate, beautiful, and memorable."
He has worked with choreographers, filmmakers, and music theater directors in collaborations and other projects, though most of his efforts focus toward concert music. His work has been performed across the U.S. , Hong Kong, as well as in Fontainebleau, France. Performances from ensembles include University of North Texas Symphony, Roomful of Teeth, ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, and the Donald Sinta Quartet. More recently, his new work for solo piano, "Aurora Winter" was selected for the Keyboard in the 21st Century International Conference for Composers, where the composer premiered the work himself. In addition, his piece, “Luxuria” for piano quintet, was notably selected as the 1st prizewinner of the Prix de Composition Maurice Ravel. The prize included a cash prize, as well as a new commission to be premiered by members of Ensemble Intercontemporain.
As a pianist, Simonds has collaborated with other composers and premiered new work, performed alongside other pianists in Dallas, as well as having hosted several solo recitals. His passion for the piano is evident throughout his compositions.
He is also a founding member, and active board member of the new art collective Eclective, a group of artists dedicated to the curation, promotion, and performance of new art. Through Eclective, Simonds has been active in many projects, some of which include a cross-collaboration art film, theater commission, and a string quartet project.
His composition studies have included lessons under Ermir Bejo, Kirsten Broberg, Andrew May, as well as Sungji Hong. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Music Theory from the University of North Texas as well as a master of Arts in Composition from the University of Chicago where he studied under Augusta Read Thomas.