Our Spotlight on the Arts is shining brightly on multi-talented musician Simon Charette!

Our featured artist is both the Choir Director and the Assistant Youth Orchestra Director for the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir (SMYOC) located here in St. Mary’s County. Every weekend during the past practice and performance season the SMYOC has had the great pleasure of Simon sharing his talents and expertise with their students.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Mr. Charette has been highly dedicated to helping his students navigate the unchartered waters of safely continuing their musical studies and furthering their skills during a most challenging time period. The SMYOC staff, volunteers, and students have worked tirelessly to host two recent socially distanced, COVID-compliant outdoor events in the heart of downtown Leonardtown for our community to enjoy.

As the mission of SMYOC is “to nurture, develop and advance talented young musicians in quality orchestral and choral programs”, Simon has been an integral part of a dynamic team in a period of uncertainty, cancelations of school and indoor events, and other related challenges.

Simon has been involved with music way back since the young age of nine when he first started playing piano, followed soon after by singing in a choir. At just 15 years old he conducted a choir for the very first time!

As a young pianist, Simon was very much inspired by Martha Argerich. As a singer, Simon’s first inspiration was (to his best recollection) German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. As a conductor, Mr. Charette has very much enjoyed the work of Pierre Boulez and Carlos Kleiber.

Simon also recently became Assistant Conductor of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra in Annapolis, MD, and has been appointed as an Associate Artistic Director of the Washington Opera Society. Recent productions with this company include Verdi’s Aida (presented at the Egyptian Embassy), Bizet’s Carmen (presented at the Embassy of France), Lehar’s The Land of Smiles (presented at the Austrian Embassy) and also Kalman’s The Gypsy Princess (presented at the Embassy of Uzbekistan).

Mr. Charette also conducts the Rochambeau Choir and the Choir of the Embassy of France in Washington. He recently led both ensembles for French President Emmanuel Macron’s address in Washington, DC, in April 2018. Simon is very active as a pianist and vocal coach and teaches music at Rochambeau, the French International School in Bethesda, MD.

As a singer, Simon has recently appeared with the In-Series in Jacques Brel: Songs of His World. He also recently sang with the Connecticut Lyric Opera as the Sacristan in Tosca and Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte and also performed in a concert at the Residence of the French Ambassador in Washington, DC along with famous mezzo-soprano Géraldine Chauvet.

After receiving a Master’s degree from the Université de Montréal, Simon furthered his training at the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (London, Ontario), at the American Institute for Musical Studies (Graz, Austria) and at the Accademia Europa dell’Opera (Lucca, Italy).

Simon’s favorite art form is opera of which he loves everything: the voices, the orchestra, the greater-than-life dramas! It is also an art form which incorporates his own three dimensions as a musician – pianist, singer, and conductor.

Outside of music Simon has recently started doing beekeeping as a new hobby after taking a class along with his wife.

To learn more about our featured artist catch him at an upcoming SMYOC event and also visit:

Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir https://www.smyoc.org/

Simon Charette https://www.simoncharette.com/

Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra https://www.cysomusic.org/
Washington Opera Society http://www.washingtonoperasociety.org/

Rochambeau: the French International School https://www.rochambeau.org/

Photos provided by the artist, SMYOC outdoor event photos provided by Julia Nichols.

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