Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay) is conductor of Toronto’s newest orchestral ensemble, euphonia; a group of dynamic musicians who according to the critics are “the hippest band in the city” and “the tightest ensemble to rock the stage in clubland T.O.” In April 2013 euphonia became the new house band at Lula Lounge, a famous nightclub in Toronto, where they perform each month. Under Capet’s direction euphonia is changing perceptions of classical music and growing a new extremely enthusiastic audience.
Born into a family of professional musicians, Capet entered the Royal College of Music at age 15 and later attended the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) on an exhibition scholarship. Since leaving the RAM Simon has worked as a freelance conductor, guest conducting orchestras in North America and Europe. In 2009 he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting concerts with The New York Pops.
He has also served as music director for multiple ensembles including the Pegasus Ensemble, Battersea Arts Centre Opera, Modern Baroque Opera and Victoria Philharmonic Choir.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Brian MacMaster Award for Excellence in Opera, a Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, Telefilm Canada’s Best Emerging Director Award, the Leo Awards and most recently the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts.
Simon with his orchestra, euphonia, can be seen at this summer’s Harbourfront Festival and Buskerfest and next summer they will be playing daily at numerous locations in and around Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
In 2012 Simon created Classical Social, a weekly, Sunday night jam session for classical musicians to get together, play, socialize and have a beer at Fionn MacCool’s, a local pub in downtown Toronto. Highly successful, the Socials are drawing musicians from all over who revel in the joy of just playing for the fun of it and audiences who get a live, lively and well played concerts for free.
A graduate of the Vancouver Film School, Simon’s 2000 musical drama film Evirati won him a Telefilm Canada Best Emerging Director Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the award for Best Short Screenplay at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. The film, concerning the audition of young woman masquerading as a castrato in 18th century Italy, may be viewed on his website.
euphonia was formed by Simon Capet and a group of like-minded musicians with the aim of getting classical music out of the concert hall and into, among other places, pubs and night clubs. Since April of 2013 they have been the resident orchestra at Toronto’s Lula Lounge, giving monthly performances of classical repertoire in the relaxed atmosphere of a Salsa Club!
Their performances in unexpected venues of music by the likes of JS Bach, Copland, Debussy, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Shostakovich and Sibelius have become a big hit. Shows regularly sell out, and they’re attracting an audience of refreshingly diverse backgrounds and age.
Unquestionably their approach to performance – and affordable ticket pricing – is attracting new people to classical music and the quality of their playing has quickly caught the attention of critics. They’ve been called “The Hippest Band Around Town” by David Farrell of newcanadianmusic.ca; “Toronto’s Hottest Classical Band” by John Terauds of musicaltoronto.com; Robert Rowat of the CBC highlighted them as a ‘Hot Trend’ and in a bachtrack.com poll of the world’s favourite orchestras they made the top 100.
They’re an adventurous, open minded bunch who are willing to place aside any preconceived ideas about how classical music should be performed and are passionate about performing in all corners of our community.
Simon Capet and euphonia are making classical music more accessible and exciting not by dumbing it down but by being daring in their programming. They provide unique concert experiences of exceptional quality at a price that is affordable to all and they see their audience as members of a community not simply subscribers to a service.