Still in his early twenties, Mikhail Simonyan is already recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation. Simonyan began to study the violin at the age of five. As part of the first generation of artists to forge careers in an era with substantially decreased government support, he has blazed a trail for young musicians in Russia. In 1999, at 13, Simonyan made his acclaimed New York debut at Lincoln Center with the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO) and his debut in St. Petersburg, Russia at the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre in ARYO's joint concert with the Mariinsky Youth Orchestra, performing the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1 (which he had just learned for the occasion).
Simonyan has earned first prize awards at the All-Russia Competition in Saint Petersburg, the Siberian Violin Competition, the National Prize Prizvanie in Moscow, and the Salon de Virtuosi in New York. He is a winner of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation Award, and received the 2000 Virtuoso of the Year award in Saint Petersburg. In 2003, the National Academy of Achievement selected him for an award in the Performing Arts. In 2005, he received the highest level of recognition when President Putin received him at the Kremlin, in acknowledgment of his status as one of Russia's most promising young musicians. In 2008, he won the Young Artist Award from the Classical Recording Foundation.
Highlights for Simonyan include his debut with the New Jersey Symphony led by Kristjan Järvi; a recital during the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Musikfestival in Germany as part of the "Junge Elite" concert series; appearances with the Seoul Philharmonic, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra at the Musikverein, and the Vancouver Symphony; and recitals in the United States and Russia. In the spring of 2009, he toured with the National Philharmonic of Russia led by Vladimir Spivakov, performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. In October, he opened the concert season of the New World Symphony, performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto under Michael Tilson Thomas. In December he makes his Lincoln Center recital debut, and in the spring he will give his Paris recital debut at the Musée du Louvre. The 2010-11 season will see his recital debut at the Verbier Festival, a debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto under Sir Neville Marriner, and a debut with the Dresden Philharmonic and Raefel Fruebeck de Burgos.
In addition, Simonyan's much-anticipated debut recording of the Prokofiev Sonatas for Violin and Piano, recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer Adam Abeshouse, was released in January 2009. The Strad raved, "Simonyan's tonal and intonational purity, coupled with a ravishing range of expressive colours, illuminates this extraordinary work with laser beam accuracy." Simonyan has been featured as a rising star violinist in The Strad and Strings magazine.
Simonyan has performed with, among others, the Russian National Orchestra, the Kirov Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Novosibirsk Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Moscow Virtuosi. He has worked with conductors including Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Constantine Orbelian, Vladimir Spivakov, Arnold Katz, Kristjan Järvi, Leon Botstein, and the late Yehudi Menuhin.
Performance highlights for Simonyan include a solo appearance with Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center's 35th Anniversary Gala in 2001, after which he made his official debut with Maestro Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra in 2002. Later that same year, he performed at the Davos World Economic Summit. He has also performed as a soloist at the Horatio Alger Awards Dinner in Washington, DC. In 2004, Simonyan made his debut with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre under Maestro Valery Gergiev at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE, and at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Other highlights include his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Maestro Gergiev; his debuts with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; a tour of the United States with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre under Maestro Gergiev, concerts with Maestro Kristjan Järvi and the Russian National Orchestra, and his debut at the Prague Spring Festival under Maestro Pletnev.
In the autumn of 2004, after studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Simonyan returned to Russia and was immediately in demand by the leading orchestras of his home country. After his debut with the Russian National Orchestra, the Moscow Times wrote, " he seems destined to be ranked on the same Superstar level as fellow Novosibirsk natives Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin." Simonyan continues to work with Victor Danchenko in the United States and lives in New York. He plays a Giuseppe Gagliano violin made in Napoli, Italy in 1769.