The Local 802 Executive Board voted unanimously on Aug. 24 to appoint Richard Simon to fill the vacancy on the Executive Board created by the death last April of Andrew Lolya.
Simon, 63, was a member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 33 years, playing in the first violin section during the musical directorships of Leonard Bernstein, George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur. He retired in 1998. Over the years he has performed with ensembles including the Simon Quartet, the Weinstock Quartet, New York Piano Trio, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, London Chamber Players, Arioso Trio, and many more.
A native New Yorker, he began studying violin at the age of 6 and made his professional debut at Town Hall at 12. He received a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music in 1956, and went on to complete the course work toward a master’s at that institution. He has taught the violin, played in many music festivals, organized educational projects, and developed considerable expertise about treatment therapies that unite the principles of oriental and western medicine, and have important implications for musicians.
In the early 1990s the IRS challenged Richard and Fiona Simon’s 1989 tax return, to prevent them from depreciating their antique violin bows. The long legal battle that ensued before the couple prevailed – establishing precedents of great importance to all musicians -strengthened Simon’s activism and his connection with the union. “I began to realize just how essential unions are, and what an important role they can play in furthering the cause of the working musician,” he told Allegro. He has since studied labor issues at the Meany Institute for Labor Studies and Cornell University, and is a member of Local 802’s Coordinating Advisory Committee.