Richard Simm was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and first came to the British public’s attention at the age of sixteen when he gave a performance there of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Bernard Roberts, and with Erik Then-Bergh at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, receiving many awards during his student years, including two prizes for Chopin interpretation. He took part in the 3rd Leeds International Piano Competition and was the only British contestant to win a prize. He has given recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London, and many concerts in Germany, the United States and in Iceland, where his solo playing has been described as one of the country's best-kept secrets.
Simm was resident pianist at the University of Wales for nine years and Visiting Professor of Piano at the University of Illinois for three years. It was here that he began working for Warner Bros. Publications, arranging popular orchestral repertoire for advanced two-piano teams, and also duets of Icelandic and Irish folk melodies for teachers and pupils to play together. He has received many awards for his brilliant work in this field, including several from ASCAP.
Since settling in Iceland in 1989, he has worked with many of the country's foremost musicians, including performing as soloist with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. He has played at the Reykjavík Arts Festival, and he and violinist Rut Ingólfsdóttir began working together in 2001, since when they have introduced Icelandic works to audiences in Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, Beijing, Lanzhou and Rome.
Richard Simm now works full-time at the Icelandic University of the Arts, and performs as a piano soloist whenever he gets the chance - for example, last March he performed the Grieg Piano Concerto to a full house with the Philomusica of Aberystwyth in Wales. He also works with violinist Guðný Guðmundsdóttir and cellist Gunnar Kvaran as a member of the Reykjavík Trio.