Stephen Simon Residence

New York City

For 26 years, Stephen Simon was the Music Director and Conductor of the Washington Chamber Symphony in D.C., the resident chamber orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. As the Music Director of the Handel Festival of New York at Carnegie Hall (1971-74), he created modern performing editions of little-known Handel works and conducted many of their American premieres, including Alexander Balus; Sosarme; and Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo.  When he was appointed Music Director of the Handel Festival at the Kennedy Center (1976-88), Simon continued his work with Handel, recording the operas Ariodante and Orlando and the oratorios Judas Maccabaeus and highlights from Athalia for RCA Victor. His recording of Handel’s Solomon won a Grammy nomination for best choral recoding. For many years, he was a guest conductor at the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany, where he led the Halle Philharmonic Orchestra. Simon also recorded The Complete Mozart Piano Concertos  with Mme. Lili Kraus for CBS/SONY and the prize-winning Beethoven Piano Concerti  with soloist Anthony Newman as the soloist for the Newport Classics label. He also recorded Handel’s Oboe Concerti with Phyllis Lanini and Tartini Violin Concerti with Jody Gatwood and the Washington Chamber Symphony for Musical Heritage.

Simon’s many years with the Washington Chamber Symphony were known for their eclectic programming and delightful high-spirited concerts. In addition, he turned thousands of young people and their parents and grandparents on to classical music through the symphony’s enormously successful Concerts for Young People series, as well as the symphony’s annual Stories in Music™ and Great Composer concerts. Deeply committed to ensuring the continuation of the symphony orchestra as an art form in America, Stephen and Bonnie Ward Simon have embarked on a recording project to make many of their successful concerts available on a new series of CDs for young people and their parents. The Stories in Music™ produced by Maestro ClassicsTM (formerly Magic Maestro Music®), has just released The Story of Swan Lake featuring the London Philharmonic with Stephen Simon, conductor, Yadu, narrator, and Bonnie Ward Simon, elucidator. The previous six CDs in the series (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, Juanita la langosta española, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Peter and the Wolf) have all won top awards, including Parents’ Choice Gold, Oppenheim Toy/Media Platinum, and the American Library Association’s Booklist’s prestigious Editor’s Choice awards.

The Simons have summered in Woods Hole, Mass., since 1982. They have two sons, Basil and Sebastian.

Mander Organs
London, England (1999)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 6 stops, 7 ranks

The Simons already had a two manual and pedal organ built by Mander in their home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This instrument had become such a part of the family that, when they refurbished their home in Washington DC, they decided an organ should form part of the remodelled home. Mander then embarked on a series of ideas and proposals, none of which quite clicked with the ideas for the room. Then the Simons hit on the idea of making an organ in a style similar to the 17th century chinoiserie bureaux which were fashionable in England and France at the time. This idea fitted in with a number of aspects of the house and garden but the task of marrying the style and an organ proved something of a challenge.

Much thought and research was undertaken to investigate what the possibilities might be, and finally an outline design was produced which looked as if it might have potential. The task then was to make it technically feasible and to find somebody who could decorate the casework in genuine chinoiserie with the proper gilding and raised gesso. When out of use, there was to be no indication that this was an organ, indeed, it was intended that it should look like a period cabinet. Ultimately, a decorator was found, who also helped us with details of the casework. The keys and music stand retract, enabling the doors to be closed over the front, and the decoration all in appropriate style tells some of the story of the family and the transportation of the organ to their home. The organ was exhibited at the International Organ Festival in St Albans, in 1999, where it caused quite a stir. Nothing quite like it had ever been seen before. It is believed that this is the first instance in which a chinoiserie bureau has been used as an inspiration for an organ. It brings back memories of King James travelling organ that also had Chinese style decoration but without any attempt being made to look like anything other than an organ.

In 2010, the organ was moved to the Simons' residence in New York City by the Lewis & Hitchcock firm in Washington, D.C.

All of the stops (except the Open Diapason) are divided at tenor B/middle C. The Open Diapason has pipes only in the treble range.
Manual – 54 notes
  Open Diapason (treble only)
  Stopped Diapason
  Nason Flute
  Mixture II ranks
     Lewis & Hitchcock, Inc. web site:
     Magic Maestro Music web site:
     Mander, John. Electronic mail (2 Nov. 2010 and 7 Jan 2011) regarding specifications.
     Mander Organs web site:
     Simon Sinfonietta web site:

     Mander Organs web site. Mander Organ (1999).