Simon Boyar, World-Renowned
Drummer and Percussionist
Simon Boyar is a world renowned percussionist, drummer, composer, producer, and educator. He is widely regarded as among the top percussionists of his generation, and he boasts a world class resume that in terms of sheer diversity is unrivaled by many is his field. He has given performances as a soloist, chamber musician, freelance percussionist, drummer, and outreach clinician across the globe to critical acclaim. An avidly sought out commissioner of new music, Simon has been called upon time and time again by elite composers to participate in the world premieres of many ground breaking works for his instrument. Simon has composed an entire catalog of marimba and percussion music. His unique brand of music has developed a global following and is performed around the world. As a producer, Boyar has been sought out by many professional touring artists for collaborative efforts resulting in the creation of cutting edge experiences in performance and sound. In the field of education, his unique method and mentoring approach is in constant demand by the world’s top conservatories and universities. He has served as a faculty member at both The Juilliard School and NYU Steinhardt and has produced successful students time and time again. He is also endorsed by leading drum and percussion companies Yamaha and Vic Firth. Simon is the owner and founder of the Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion in Westchester NY, an absolute game changer for music education in the area. At the Simon Boyar Drum School, Simon also provides the world's finest instruments to students and professionals as Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks/mallets/products, and Remo drum heads/products dealer.
Boyar has performed as a percussion soloist and chamber musician around the world. As a soloist he has performed with dozens of orchestras including The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The American Symphony Orchestra, The Korean Symphony Orchestra, The National Polish Radio Orchestra of Katowice, The New Mexico Symphony, The Puerto Rican Symphony, The Fort Collins Symphony, The Juilliard Orchestra, and many others. He has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as George Manahan, Sergiu Comissiona, Harold Farberman, and Leon Botstein. As a chamber musician, Simon has performed and collaborated with artists such as Branford Marsalis, Alpin Hong, Mike Garson, Gilles Vonsattel, Andres Cardenes, Janet Sung, Oren Fader, David Leisner, Guillermo Figueroa, Andrea Fisher (Fluterscooter), and percussionists Jonathan Haas, Greg Giannascoli, Josh Quillen, and Ian Rosenbaum. He has served as the director of the NYU Percussion Chamber Music Ensemble and Program. Additionally, he has served as the director of the NYU Sandbox festival where he worked closely and performed alongside Sandbox Percussion and composer Andy Akiho.
Simon is extremely fortunate to have spent his career as a top tier in demand freelance percussionist, and he has performed with numerous ensembles. He is a respected name in the business and is often sought out to cover mallet parts of high difficulty that require elite reliability. As a result, he has had to opportunity to perform much of the standard orchestral repertoire for mallets, along with countless pops and new music concerts with many professional orchestras. As a section percussionist, he has shared the stage with some of the most prestigious artists in the world in the world including Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Emanuel Ax, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Feinstein, Megan Hilty, Bob Mcgrath, Norm Lewis, and Neil Sedaka. He has performed under the baton of conductors Neeme Jarvi, Jacques Lacombe, Zdenek Macal, Gemma New, John Adams, JoAnn Falletta, Andrew Litton, Miguel-Harth Bedoya, Jeffrey Milarsky, Otto Werner Mueller, James DePreist, Kurt Masur, and Lukas Foss. He has also had the esteemed privilege of working with many prominent composers of our time including Steve Mackey, Howard Shore, and Nobuo Uematsu as well as dozens upon dozens of up and coming composers. As a freelance percussionist Boyar has also performed with artists and groups such as Exit 9 Percussion Group, The Three Irish Tenors, Harpsichord Unlimited, Syren Modern Dance, and Tropicalia Indie musician Adron. In what is currently an industry trend, Simon has also played section percussion in many "movies in concert" shows including An American In Paris, Back To The Future 30th Anniversary at Radio City, Casablanca, Final Fantasy, Harry Potter I-IV, Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Legend Of Zelda, Lord Of The Rings, and The Wizard Of Oz.
World Premieres/New Music
A champion of new music, Boyar’s playing has been sought out by some of the most esteemed composers in the world for world premieres. He was called upon to give the world premiere of the late Elliott Carter’s first and only work for solo marimba “Figment V.” He was also fortunate to be asked to perform the premiere recording of the work at Bridge Records where he worked with producer and guitar virtuoso David Starobin. He has given the world premiere of works by composers Andrew Thomas, Daniel Levitan, Javier Diaz, David Eddleman, and Davide Zannoni. Simon also commissioned a version of Frank Zappa’s “Revised Music for Guitar and Low Budget Orchestra” for Marimba and Orchestra by Tom Trapp. Simon has since arranged the same work himself for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble. Boyar also gave the world premiere of a double concerto for violin and percussion by Harold Farberman alongside violinist Guillermo Figueroa. He gave the premiere recording of the revised version of The Loving Mad Tom Marimba Concerto by Andrew Thomas with The National Polish Radio Orchestra of Katowice and recorded The Heroic Triad by the same composer for guitar, percussion and string orchestra with guitarist David Leisner. Boyar also recorded Daniel Levitan’s virtuoso work for solo marimba “Marimba Singular” (commissioned as part of the James Preiss solo marimba commissioning series). He has recorded for Bridge Records, Naxos, and Opus One Records. Most recently, Boyar recorded "Or A Tolling Bell" for percussion quartet by Gudmunder Hafsteinsson.
As a producer Simon has created a unique style and sound based on his foundation as a percussionist. He is well versed in all areas of music production, and he has produced and arranged projects for renowned artists such as trumpet player Joey Pero. He has also collaborated as both a writer and producer with established commercial producer artists such as Peter Fish. He has also produced shows for pianist Alpin Hong with The Las Vegas Youth Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. Simon has also produced his own series of online drum and percussion lessons for the Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion. An avid composer of percussion music, Simon has written and published numerous works for solo marimba and percussion ensemble. His music is performed and featured around the world. Simon has also arranged many concert works and jazz standards for his student ensemble programs both at NYU and the Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion.
Some of Simon’s greatest accomplishments are in the field of education. He is a master teacher and he is considered by many to represent the contemporary pinnacle of elite education for all ages and levels. He has taught hundreds of students many of which are professional musicians today. Simon’s career in education began when upon graduating from The Juilliard School, he was asked to serve on the percussion faculty of the school’s Pre-College Division. The following year he was made the director of the program. Over the next 4 years he would modernize The Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Department and build it into an internationally renowned competitive institution for serious young percussion students. In 2007, Simon was asked to join the percussion faculty at NYU Steinhardt where for 13 years, he taught alongside some of the top percussionists in the world including Jonathan Haas, Jason Haaheim, Valerie Naranjo, James Saporito, Sean Statser, and Josh Quillen of So Percussion. Over the past decade, Simon brought a world class level of study to the percussion program at NYU Steinhardt and redefined the program by creating the NYU Percussion Chamber Music Ensemble which served as a proving ground for it's students. Boyar has had the esteemed privilege of giving master classes and clinics worldwide. His talents as an educator are constantly in demand and he has appeared as a guest artist and participated in prestigious residencies at Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs CO, The Las Vegas Youth Orchestra, The Bard Conductor's Institute, and SUNY Fredonia. He has given concerts and masterclasses at conservatories, universities, conferences, and festivals around the world including The National Taiwan Normal University, PASIC, CJMEA, Kutztown University, ITG Australia, University of New Mexico, Kean University, Mannes School of Music, and The Juilliard School. A huge proponent of educational outreach, Boyar has also given numerous appearances at high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools across the USA. In 2016, Simon founded the Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion in Westchester, NY. With dozens of students, 2 ensembles, a full suite of online offerings, and the highest quality instruments for purchase and rental, the Simon Boyar Drum School has become the fastest growing and most exciting music school in the area!
Simon has been featured in countless publications. He has been a featured guest on NPR’s All Things Considered for “Breaking New Ground” in the percussive arts. PBS-NJTV aired a special about his career on their renowned arts and culture program State Of The Arts. He has also had prominent features, mentions, and reviews in The NYTimes, The NJ Star Ledger, In Tune Monthly, The New York Sun, Downbeat Magazine, DCI Today, YBNY Media, and Javeriana Estereo 91.9. He was the featured artist on the cover of the online publication Yamaha Signature Sounds and he has been a featured artist in a "Performance Spotlight" on VicFirth.com. Simon's music school, The Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion has been featured numerous times in Cortlandt Living Magazine. His family was featured on the cover of the January, 2018 issue.
Simon Boyar is a Yamaha Performing artist. He performs on a YM6000 Concert Grand Marimba. Simon uses Vic Firth mallets and sticks exclusively. He is also a member of The Vic Firth Education Team. As a retailer, the Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion specializes in Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, mallets, products, and Remo drum heads and products.
Simon Boyar holds a B.M from The Juilliard School. Prior to that he attended The Juilliard Pre-College Division. Growing up he participated in his High School Band Program in Hillsborough NJ as well as CJMEA, and NJMEA All-State. He was also a member of The Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps. His former teachers include David Fein of the NJSO, Yamaha performing artist Greg Giannascoli, Greg Zuber of the MET Opera Orchestra, and the legendary drummer Joe Morello.
Simon currently resides in Westchester, NY with his wife Danna and son Benjamin.