Percussion Ensemble Coach
Simón Gómez Gallego is a timpanist, percussionist, and educator. He holds positions as Principal Timpanist of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and is a percussionist with the Chicago Philharmonic Society. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Scholarship Program of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The People’s Music School, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and is the Percussion Ensemble coach of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras.
Simón has performed as Guest Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with many orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, among others. In the past he held positions as Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Florida Grand Opera, and Principal Timpanist of the West Michigan Symphony.
Simón also enjoys performing chamber music, new music and as a soloist. As the latter, he was featured recently in James MacMillan’s percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. He also recently co-commissioned a piece for vibraphone and horn by Chicago composer Roger Zare.
Born in Medellin, Colombia, Simón began his musical studies at the Instituto Musical Diego Echavarria. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Miami and a Post-Master’s Certificate from DePaul University. He was the timpanist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Civic Fellow from 2014 to 2016. Additionally, he attended the Aspen Music Festival and School for 5 summers and was a recipient of the Charlie Owen and the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Timpani Fellowships. Simón is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Ludwig – Musser Instruments and is a JG Percussion Young Artist.
Simón’s main teachers include David Herbert, Matthew Strauss, Marc Damoulakis, Eric Millstein, Vadim Karpinos, Svet Stoyanov, Ney Rosauro, Ted Atkatz and Alexander Ziborov. Simón is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Ludwig – Musser Instruments and is a JG Percussion Young Artist
During his free time, Simón enjoys running along Chicago’s lakefront and playing and teaching tennis lessons.
Who is your favorite musician/piece/song to listen to and why?
There are so many and it is unfair to pick one! but one that I have been enjoying recently is Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. I think it is incredible how Strauss can tell a story and portray real life characters in his music. In this case, the story is about himself as a “hero” and his life. As musicians and people, we often have to be heroes in our own lives so this piece is very relatable. I think this piece is great as it is incredibly inspiring.
Fun fact about you that might surprise people
I also coach tennis. This past summer I was a tennis camp director! There are in fact a lot of similarities between teaching tennis and percussion – At the end of the day, I am teaching people how to hit things at the right time! In all seriousness, I think I have become a better teacher by having to teach these two seemingly different disciplines.