Bachelor of Arts in Music and Political Science, Augsburg College
Graduate studies in music, University of Trondheim, Norway
American Composers Forum
International Trumpet Guild
American Federation of Musicians
Bill Simenson (trumpet) has been performing professionally in the Twin Cities since 1983. He has his degree in Music and Political Science from Augsburg College (Minneapolis, MN 1980). From 1981-83 he attended the University of Trondheim (Norway) where he studied music at the graduate level. While in Trondheim he also directed Kjellerbandet; a big band connected with the Student Union and made up of university students from the various institutions in the city. Upon his return in 1983 he began performing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He has performed regularly with such groups as the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, Latin Sounds Orchestra, the Cedar Avenue Big Band (founding member), the Jazz Composers’ Art Ensemble, the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, Salsa Blanca, and Seven Steps to Havana.
He has also performed at Mixed Blood, Guthrie, Cricket, and Children’s Theaters; with groups and artists such as the JazzMn Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Ordway Big Band, De Stiljistics, the American Classic Jazz Orchestra, the big band for the Minnesota Vikings, and Jack McDuff; as well as with his own ensembles.
He also led the band for the Minnesota North Stars hockey team and has backed such artists as Cab Calloway, Steve Allen, Tony Sandler, Maureen McGovern, Joan Rivers, Mitzi Gaynor, the Temptations, and the Four Tops. He remains active as a freelance performer and has played in styles ranging from classical to rock and R&B to polka. In June of 2012, he launched the Bill Simenson Orchestra, a 17 piece big band performing his original compositions and arrangements. Since then he has performed monthly at Jazz Central (407 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis), and was also featured in the Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret in November, 2012.
He has studied trumpet with Laurie Frink, Michael Hesse, Reidar Bye, Dag Tunaal, Michael Brand, Greg Lewis, and Ron Hasselmann. In addition he has taken lessons with Charley Davis, Lew Soloff , John Ridgeon, Robert Baca, Bobby Shew, Harry Kvebaek, Steve Wright, and Kenny Wheeler. He has been teaching privately since 1979 in a variety of locations in the Twin Cities and also in Norway (1981-83). He is currently teaching privately at K&S Conservatory of Music in Woodbury (since 2001), West Bank School of Music in Minneapolis (since 1996), and at home. He is a member of the American Composers Forum, the International Trumpet Guild, and the American Federation of Musicians. Awards include: Bush Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition (1999), Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (1990).