Walter Simmons

Musicologist and Critic


As a musicologist and critic, I have devoted the last 50 years to increasing the general public’s enjoyment and understanding of concert music, as well as the music world’s awareness of great works (primarily of the 20th and 21st centuries) that have not yet been recognized.

I have accomplished this by addressing the:

  • broad general public (young people, in particular) as a
    • teacher and lecturer at high schools, colleges, public libraries, and other institutions throughout the New York metropolitan area
    • video producer of dozens of award-winning educational programs used in high schools and colleges throughout the English-speaking world
  • musically knowledgeable public as a
    • writer of hundreds of articles and reviews published in Fanfare, American Music, American Record Guide, Music Journal, and Musical America, as well as entries in The New Grove and other reference books
    • program annotator for dozens of major record companies and symphony orchestras
    • executive producer of recordings of major 20th-century works that were previously unknown
    • radio producer and commentator on weekly radio series featuring broadcast premieres of important works and interviews with major composers, as well as guest appearances on Performance Today and other programs on National Public Radio
  • music profession itself as a
    • repertoire consultant to soloists, conductors, orchestra managers, concert producers, university music departments, and record companies

Additional Information


  • Manhattan School of Music (M.M., Musicology, 1974)
  • City College of New York, CUNY (B.A. [cum laude], 1969)


  • ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award (1984) for music criticism
  • National Educational Film Festival Award (1983)


  • American Music Center
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Music Critics Association
  • Sonneck Society for American Music


  • Ellis, Fay, “Critic Promotes the Music and Legacy of a 20th-Century Artist,” New York Times, 9/l/96
  • International Who’s Who in Music (12th edition)
  • Who’s Who in American Music (2nd edition)

Reference Book Entries

  • American National Biography (1999) New York: Oxford Univ. Press: entries on Vincent Persichetti, Peter Mennin
  • Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Barenreiter-Verlag (2000): entry on Paul Creston
  • New Grove Dictionary of American Music (1986); New Grove II (2001): entries on C. Cooman, P. Creston, N. Flagello, V. Giannini, L. Hoiby, P. Mennin, R. Muczynski, T. Pasatieri, V. Persichetti, A. Rosner,