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About Ian

A native of Stephens City, Virginia, and currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland, Ian Sims completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University and its Peabody Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (2008), Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies (2008), Master of Arts in Audio Sciences (2010), and Graduate Performance Diploma in Jazz Studies (2010). His primary instrumental studies have been under the guidance of world renowned saxophonist Gary... more

Woodwind Instructor, OrchKids

For two years, I served as a woodwind instructor in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids program. During that time I taught group lessons in saxophone and clarinet to at-risk youths. Although demanding, it was an overall good teaching experience and several of the students have gone on to study privately with me in the Preparatory. With my increased duties at Peabody, I was no longer able to continue teaching regularly at OrchKids. I have continued to substitute teach many times throughout the year though and participated in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Gala Performance with the OrchKids on September 15, 2012.

Freelance Musician

Over the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to perform at hundreds of events as both a leader and sideman. Styles have ranged from jazz to classical to pop and group size from solo to orchestra. Many of these events are private engagements such as weddings and parties. Some of my higher profile public performances opportunities have included the following:

May 11, 2013: MD Public Television Doo Wop Concert with Percy Sledge, Herb Cox and the Cleftones, Jimmy Clanton, Gene Chandler
May 4, 2013: Rising to the Challenge Campaign Launch, Johns Hopkins University
May 2, 2012: 10th Anniversary Concert, Peabody Jazz Studies Department
November 17, 2012: Temptations, Chimes Gala
April 11-12, 2012: Charlotte Bloomberg Children’s Center Gala
April 6, 2011: Temptations, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
February 10, 2011: Temptations and Four Tops, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
October 30, 2010: 10th Anniversary Concert, Soulful Symphony
December 4-6, 2008: Too Hot to Handel, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
February 22, 2008: Peabody Lab Band, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
March 23, 2007: Peabody Lab Band with Dontae Winslow
April 1, 2005: Peabody Jazz Orchestra with Sam Rivers
April 20-21, 2006: Peabody Jazz Orchestra with Rufus Reid

  • Soulful Symphony 10th Anniversary Concert

    Warming up backstage with Gary Thomas and Tom Williams.
  • Solitude (Ian Sims)

    Recorded on November 28, 2012. Alexander Norris (trumpet) Jeana Masters (alto sax) Ian Sims (tenor sax) Adam Corson (bass clarinet) Christian Hizon (trombone) Kevin Clark (guitar) Mark Meadows (piano) Jeff Reed (bass) Jon Baez (drums)
  • Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

    December 4-6, 2008: Too Hot to Handel, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • JHU Campaign Launch

    May 4, 2013: Rising to the Challenge Campaign Launch, Johns Hopkins University
  • Litha (Chick Corea)

    Recorded on November 28, 2012. Ian Sims (tenor sax), Kevin Clark (guitar), Jeff Reed (bass), Jon Baez (drums)
  • Aftermath (Jacob Yoffee)

    Solo by Ian Sims (tenor sax). Peabody Improvisation and Multimedia Ensemble: May 2, 2013.

Faculty, Peabody Preparatory

In 2007, and while still a full-time student, I was appointed as a saxophone and clarinet faculty member in the Peabody Preparatory through the Tuned-In program. The Tuned-In program provides scholarships for private instruction in the Preparatory to Baltimore City public school student who otherwise might not be able to afford to do so. My initially humble studio of three students has now grown to include at times over fifteen members, ranging in age from six years to adult. For my work as an instructor in the Tuned-In program, I was a recipient of the 2010 Diversity Recognition Award from the Johns Hopkins University.

During my second year of teaching, I was recruited to assist in revitalizing the Preparatory’s jazz program. With the help of fellow faculty member Blake Meister, I was able to implement a successful jazz ensemble. Within two years, the jazz program had grown to include two ensembles and a jazz theory course. In 2013, Meister and I were asked to create a Jazz Performance Academy, made possible through support from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Serious students, selected by audition, are enrolled in a jazz ensemble, jazz theory course, transcription course, and an improvisation course. Additionally, each student receives either 60 or 90 minutes lessons with a member of the Preparatory jazz faculty. Two of the five currently enrolled students were provided full scholarships. Many of my students have participated in events at the local, state, and national levels including summer programs at Eastman and Julliard.

Academic Coordinator, Peabody Conservatory

After serving as both an undergraduate assistant and a graduate assistant in the Peabody Jazz Studies Department, I was hired by Gary Thomas as the Academic Coordinator in 2010. Excerpted from my job description:

“The Academic Coordinator was responsible for the delivery, maintenance, and development of assigned programs and courses of study within the Jazz Studies Department under the guidance of the Department Chair. The duties of an Academic Coordinator were primarily to provide academic, technical, and budgetary support. Administrative support was provided through a graduate assistant, whose operations were directed by the Academic Coordinator.”

During my tenure, I have had a pivotal role in the creation of a room scheduling system; revised recital policy proposal; establishing and maintaining courses in an online teaching environment, identifying and purchasing new equipment, budget support, arranging master classes and performances, and student recruitment. Specific master classes that I have assisted in organizing and promoting include Marc Copland, Steve Wilson, Tom Teasley, Jim Snidero, Ed Howard, the John Scofield Trio, Joe Locke, David Kikoski, Howard Alden and Jeanne Gies, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gene Bertoncini, the Marcus Strickland Quartet, Diego Figueiredo, and Pat Martino. Additionally, support was provided for visiting performers and guest conductors such as Ellery Eskelin, Jack Walrath, Mike Clark, Alan Ferber, and Alex Norris.

CAO, Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club

In 2011, I was asked to serve as Chief Administrative Officer for the Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club concert series. The series was created and funded by Ronald J. Daniels, President of the Johns Hopkins University, and is operated under the guidance of its Artistic Director, Gary Thomas. Performances have included: Jim Snidero Quartet, Russell Kirk and the Path, John Scofield Trio, Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Joe Locke Trio, Blake Meister’s Septagon, Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, Marcus Strickland Quartet, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon, Gary Thomas and Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Jeff “Tain” Watts 4, Lionel Loueke Trio, Edward Simon Trio, Vijay Iyer Trio, and Pat Martino Trio. My work on the series has provided invaluable management experience, which has helped my own creative endeavors come to fruition. Additionally, the opportunity to meet and work closely with so many renowned musicians is unprecedented. For our efforts, Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club was named a 2013 Best of Baltimore winner for "Best Concert Series" by Baltimore Magazine.

As the CAO, my responsibilities have included the following:

•Prepared and maintained a series budget
•Oversaw purchase and delivery of all equipment and rentals
•Reviewed, edited, and submitted contracts for performers
•Processed check requests and payments for series vendors, performers, and personnel
•Identified, established, and maintained a method for online ticket sales
•Maintained an email list of all previous patrons
•Made hotel and travel reservations for performers
•Briefed drivers and made rental vehicle arrangements for local transportation of performers
•Gathered images and audio clips used for promotional purposes
•Consulted with the graphic designer on website layout and design
•Composed and gathered text for website
•Proofed and printed poster and postcard publicity
•Created and assisted the graphic designer with Facebook social media publicity
•Provided internal and external promotions through events postings, email lists, and distribution of poster and postcard publicity
•Finalized Eblast services for each performance
•Edited and finalized radio promotional copy points
•Provided support to performers and personnel as required
•Worked closely with the personnel and the Johns Hopkins Club to ensure successful execution of the performances
•Prepared periodic reports to President Daniels on the status of the series

Jazz Studies Department 10th Anniversary Concert

On May 2, 2012, the Peabody Improvisation and Multimedia Ensemble (P.I.M.E.) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Peabody Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department with an evening of music by saxophonist and flutist Gary Thomas, Richard and Elizabeth Case Endowed Professor in Jazz. In addition to my work organizing and promoting the event, I had the honor of being selected as a featured alumnus performer. Other guest faculty and alumnus performers included Alan Ferber, Russell Kirk, Blake Meister, Gabrielle Murphy, Alex Norris, Todd Simon, Raul Sööt, and Jacob Yoffee.

BJA Jazz Composers’ Showcase

In June 2013, I was selected as one of four commission winners by the Baltimore Jazz Alliance. Written for quintet, my piece entitled “Conundrum” was premiered at the second Baltimore Jazz Composers’ Showcase by the BJA Quintet under the direction of Dr. Anthony Villa. The event was held at Loyola University’s McManus Theater on September 29, 2013.

Ian Sims Group: Live at An die Musik

Performance by the Ian Sims Group featuring:

Ian Sims (tenor sax & compositions)
Alex Norris (trumpet)
Kevin Clark (guitar)
Blake Meister (bass)
Eric Kennedy (drums)

In preparation for my forthcoming album, I booked a performance at An die Musik in Baltimore on November 17, 2013. The evening consisted of two performance sets, each featuring five of my original compositions.

  • Cork Street Blues

    November 17, 2013: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Blake Meister (bass) Eric Kennedy (drums)
  • Mischievous Footprints

    November 17, 2013: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Blake Meister (bass) Eric Kennedy (drums)
  • Foiled

    November 17, 2013: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Blake Meister (bass) Eric Kennedy (drums)
  • Conundrum

    November 17, 2013: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Blake Meister (bass) Eric Kennedy (drums)
  • Ian Sims Group

    Poster advertising the An die Musik performance on November 17, 2013.

Ian Sims And Divergent Paths: Live at An die Musik

Performance by Ian Sims And Divergent Paths featuring:

Ian Sims (tenor sax)
Alex Norris (trumpet)
Kevin Clark (guitar)
Mike Pope (bass)
Byung Kang (drums)

In preparation for my debut album, I booked a performance at An die Musik in Baltimore on April 12, 2014. The evening consisted of two performance sets, each featuring five of my original compositions.

  • Forgotten

    April 12, 2014: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Mike Pope (bass) Byung Kang (drums)
  • The Eleventh Hour

    April 12, 2014: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Mike Pope (bass) Byung Kang (drums)
  • Treacherous Persona

    April 12, 2014: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Mike Pope (bass) Byung Kang (drums)
  • Misguided Perceptions

    April 12, 2014: An die Musik. Composition by Ian K. Sims. Personnel: Ian Sims (tenor sax) Alex Norris (trumpet) Kevin Clark (guitar) Mike Pope (bass) Byung Kang (drums)

Ian Sims And Divergent Paths: Conundrum

For my debut album as a leader, I assembled a stellar group of musicians, including: Alex Norris on trumpet/flugelhorn, Paul Bollenback on guitar, Ed Howard on bass, and EJ Strickland on drums. Deriving its name from the title track, Conundrum, the album features nine of my original compositions, each inspired by my different musical experiences and enhanced by the creativity of all involved.

I was advised early in my career that in order to fully captivate your audience, you must consider variety of programming. Your material should engage the listener by presenting different styles and tempos while still maintaining musical continuity. Conundrum takes the listener on one such empirical journey.

The title track melody alternates between two horns, creating an intriguing conversation that ends abruptly without resolution. Forgotten, with its ethereal introduction and haunting quality, emotes loss and grieving for the past. Cork Street Blues presents a slightly quirky unison melody with solos that alternate between two keys. Treacherous Persona, with a more ominous tone and use of distortion, explores a darker expression and pays homage to Gary Thomas’s album Found On Sordid Streets. Beyond My Window is a turning point and creates a sense a calmness. Foiled is a presentation of contradictions. In one moment the melody is mischievous and playful, and in the next it expresses a yearning feeling. A desperate sense of urgency can be heard in The Eleventh Hour. Being able to find comfort in one’s own company is projected in Solitude. Finally, the up-tempo Misguided Perceptions was written using a cyclic form that suggests coming full circle and arrives at an appropriate ending to the journey.

Ian's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.