Simos Papanas was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1979. At the age of 16 he had already completed his studies in violin and music theory at the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki. By that time he had already been a first prize winner at various Greek musical competitions, as well as the competition of the Hellenic Mathematical Society. He holds a M.S. in Mathematics from Yale University, as well as B. Music and B.A. with highest honors in Mathematics from Oberlin College. He has won first prize at the American Bach Soloists baroque violin competition (2000), the Kaufmann award in violin and Orr prize in mathematics by Oberlin College, and well as the first position for a Benefactors Scholarship by the University of Cambridge.
In 2002 we won the concertmaster position of the Thessaloniki State Symphony orchestra, and he settled in Greece. Along with his orchestral work, Simos Papanas is enjoying a successful career in Greece and abroad on both modern and baroque violins. His compositions for violin and chamber ensembles, as well as his music for theater, have been presented by important artists in Europe, Asia and America. In March 2009 he premiered his Violin Concerto with the Athens State Orchestra. His music for Izumi Ashizawa's experimental Noh Theater productions "Medusa" and "Blue Rocks", has been successfully presented at numerous international theatrical festivals (New York Fringe, Seattle, Tehran etc.), as well as the 22nd Tokyo Music Festival.
Along with violinist G. Demertzis and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, he has recorded for BIS the double violin concerto by N. Skalkottas. He has also recorded the 1st Violin Concerto of Dinos Constantinides (MAGNI).
Simos Papanas performed as a soloist with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, the Athens State Orchestra, the Orchestra of Patras, the Athens Camerata, the Greek National Radio Orchestra, the Bolshoi Orchestra, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Germany Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic, the Sofia Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the Black Sea, the Debrecen Symphony Orchestra, the Cyprus State Orchestra and the New Hellenic Quartet. He has played concerts in the U.S., Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, France, Norway, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, F.Y.R.O.M., Egypt, Brazil, China and Japan. He has given master classes at the Thuringische Sommerakademie, the Louisiana State University and numerous summer fesitvals in Greece.
Simos Papanas studied violin with Peter Arnaoudov, Stelios Kafantaris, Taras Gabora (Oberlin Conservatory), Erick Friedman (Yale School of Music), baroque violin with Marilyn Mc Donald (Oberlin), and composition with Christos Samaras.