Meet the Sinfonia – Second Violin

Robert Simmons (pictured left) plays Second Violin for the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet. In this, his 10th anniversary season with the Company, he kindly answered a few questions about himself…


How old were you when you first started playing?
Seven. With the amazing Kent Music School. I was on a waiting list to learn violin and couldn’t wait to start. Many of my family had played in the Hoo (Rochester) Silver Band under conductors such as Eric Ball so a string instrument was an unusual choice!

What did you want to be when you were a child, or did you always want to be a musician?
A journalist.

How long have you been in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?
Since October 2004 (It’s my 10th anniversary year, though I’m still waiting for my birthday cake!)

What’s your favourite ballet music?
Apollo (Stravinsky). It’s incredibly moving music and I first played it on trial so it has good memories for me. It gives me goose bumps. We play it really well!

What is your favourite pop song?
Sit Down, by James (Not their best song – but the first single I bought with my own money and my introduction to a great band).

What instrument would you choose other than your own?

Favourite pit, and favourite concert hall?
Sunderland Empire – a wonderful open pit, great to be on show for once! Bridgewater Hall for concerts.

What’s your favourite touring meal?
Anything from The Peach Garden in Chinatown. My home from home in Birmingham.

How do you relax away from music?
I’m a coffee snob! I love discovering coffees and brewing techniques from roasters like @hasbean and @squaremile. Premium coffee is an affordable luxury. I also love holidays with my family, mid century furniture and watching Mad Men.