Maria Simiz, principal cello

W. David Connell chair

Maria Simiz Maria is fortunate to have blended her artistic  experiences into a career as a successful performer, passionate teacher of hundreds of young, talented students, and a devoted mother to her two kitties, Dusty and, of course, Pablo.

Maria, a graduate of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, studied with Gabor Rejto, a disciple of Pablo Casals.

She is a longtime free-lance cellist in Phoenix and Southern California. Maria has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera, the Phoenix Opera, the Amabile String Quartet, and with her husband, Phoenix Symphony assistant principal cellist Jan Simiz. She has been a section cellist at the Music in the Mountains summer festival in Durango, Colo., for 25 years.

Maria founded the string department at Arizona School for the Arts when it opened in 1995. She has served as the school’s orchestra director, department chair, and low string specialist for fifth through 12th grades, in addition to her duties as the string department coordinator with the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA). She received the SURDNA Foundation Arts Teacher Fellowship in 2010.

Over the years, she has highly active in AMEA, and in 2018 served as clinician for the Greater Phoenix Honor Orchestra Festival. She is currently president-elect of the Arizona Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.