Performer, editor, composer and teacher, Simon Rowland-Jones has always led a very busy, all-embracing musical life. He was founder violist of the Chilingirian Quartet, in which he played for a total of ten years, and he has also performed with many other leading chamber groups, including the Nash Ensemble.
As a soloist he made a highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall début in 1979, and has since given many recitals and made a number of solo recordings. His CDs, on the Meridian and Etcetera labels, include the first-ever complete version of the Bach Cello Suites on viola. Peters Edition published his own viola transcription of the suites shortly after the recording was made.
After editing the Bach, Simon Rowland-Jones went on to make a new critical/performing edition of the Haydn String Quartets, also for Peters Edition. This massive twelve-year project is now completed with seven volumes of the edition already being used by string quartets around the world.
He has, from a very early age, been a composer too. Receiving lessons from Nadia Boulanger while a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School, he now spends an ever-increasing part of his life writing chamber music. His many works, which include three string quartets, a string trio, a piano quartet and ‘A Turn Outside’, a musical adaptation of a play by Stevie Smith commissioned by Dame Josephine Barstow, have become an integral part of his performing career.
Paul Driver of The Sunday Times praised his Third String Quartet with the following words: “I can hardly think of a contemporary composer who has reinvented tonality with the freshness of this. It was quartet writing in excelsis.”
Simon Rowland-Jones also teaches viola and chamber music at the RCM. He is also a co-director of the North Norfolk Music Festival.