(est. 2022) Simon Sargon was a composer, pianist and educator who devoted his life to music and music education. He was born in Mumbai, India of Sephardic-Indian and Ashkenazi-Russian descent and was brought to the United States as an infant. He took private piano lessons with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University. He received an M.A. from Juilliard, studying with Vincent Persichetti and Sergius Kagen, and at the Aspen School of Music under Darius Milhaud. Active for many years as a conductor and pianist in New York, Sargon was assistant conductor of the Concert Opera Association and accompanist to famed mezzo-soprano, Jennie Tourel, in concerts and master classes in the U.S. and abroad. Sargon taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Juilliard and later, on a multi-year grant from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, served as a Visiting Lecturer at Hebrew University and as the Head of the Voice Department of the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem (now the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance). In 1974, he began a 27-year tenure as the Director of Music at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas. He established himself as a major creative figure in contemporary American Jewish music and was named an Honorary Member of the American Conference of Cantors “in recognition of his achievements and contributions to Jewish music and Jewish life.” In 1984, he joined the music faculty of Southern Methodist University as director of the Opera Theatre. During that time he was honored with the Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor Award and retired as Professor Emeritus of Composition in 2014.
Sargon’s compositions are performed nationally and internationally and encompass a wide body of music— Jewish liturgical and secular pieces; opera and musical theatre; chamber ensemble and symphonic works; choral and art song. His works are published by Transcontinental Music Publications, Boosey and Hawkes, Southern Music, and Lawson-Gould. The Gasparo label has devoted three CDs exclusively to his compositions, and his work as both composer and pianist may be heard on the New World, Crystal, Klavier, and Ongaku labels. The prestigious Milken Archive of Jewish Music includes several of his works in its collection of albums pertaining to the American Jewish experience.
To honor his lifetime of achievement and service in music, his family has established this scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students of music at the Jacobs School, so that his legacy may live on through new generations of students devoted to music at the highest level.