"I could not have hoped for a more compelling, sensitive and assured realisation of my ideas.. the warm audience response was in large measure due to your artistry and remarkable voice" Composer Graeme Koehne
The young lyric soprano Simone Riksman finished her Bachelor at the Academy of Music in Rotterdam, the Netherlands with the highest degree. The following years she continued her studies with Margreet Honig and became a member of the Dutch National Opera Academy,where she performed numerous roles.
During her studies Simone Riksman was a member of “Cappella Amsterdam”, a professional choir acclaimed all over the world, conducted by Daniel Reuss. She has encountered all styles of music, and has sung the solo parts on many occasions working together with conductors as Frans Brüggen, Reinbert de Leeuw, Valery Gergiev and Sir Colin Davis.
In the summer of 2008 she has been a participant in the Mozart Academy of the Festival Aix-en-Provence, France. Other masterclasses she has taken with a.o. Graciela Araya, Carolyn Watkinson, Jard van Nes, Klesie Kelly, Susan Mc Culloch and Christa Ludwig. Currently she has been working with world renowned tenor William Johns.
After finishing her master’s in opera she performed and recorded La Blanche Aline - Les aventures du Roi Pausole of Honegger with Opera Trionfo, conducted by Ed Spanjaard.
In 2008 she has been acknowledged the 'Premier Prix d' Opera' as well as the 'Prix d' Orchestre' in the Concours lyrique de Macon, France. She has been awarded the Ruud van der Meer Prize for Best Communication, Best Vocalist and the Young People's Music Award in the Pr. Christina Concours 2002, as well as the Ank Reinders Prize, and the 'Prix d'Harmonie'.
Soon her debut as Despina (Mozart) followed in St. Gallen, Switzerland, being followed by Creusa - Medea in Corinto (Mayr), her English debut as Micaela (Bizet) at Dorset Opera, as well as First Priestess in Iphigénie en Tauride (Gluck) at the Netherlands Opera, conducted by Marc Minkowski.
She was invited to return to St Gallen, Switzerland in 2011 to sing Pamina in Mozart's Zauberflöte, Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and in Purcell's The Fairy Queen. In the season 2012-2013 she has performed Walther in Catalani's La Wally, Annina in J.Strauss's Nacht in Venedig, Pamina in Mozart's Zauberflöte, Sandrina in Mozart's Finta Giardiniera, Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in Maschera and Echo in R.Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, the latter being conducted by Otto Tausk. The season after she made her debut as Zerlina in a new production of Don Giovanni by Guy Joosten, reprise both her role as Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos and her leading role as Annina in Nacht in Venedig, before performing Vixen (Füchslein) in Cunning Little Vixen by Janaçek. The season after she performed Micaëla in Carmen and Lisa in that year's operetta Gräfin Mariza.
The Dorset Opera Festival invited Simone back to sing Siebel in Gounod's Faust and the year after to sing L'Infante in Le Cid by Massenet. This production was listed in the top ten of classical performances by the Guardian.
Besides her vocal training Simone Riksman has followed classes in classical ballet, modern dance, as well as tap dance for years. Mime body training was part of her education program, which makes her a versatile stage performer.
Her immense experience both on the stage and in choir and ensemble singing makes her a strong musical partner in ensembles. This musicianship goes further than opera alone. Simone Riksman is also loved for her recitals and chamber music making, as for her performance of the oratorio and concert repertoire, including Mahler's Fourth Symphony and Brahms' Requiem.
She has performed at numerous festivals such as the Delft Chamber Music Festival, the Gergiev Festival and the Canberra International Music Festival in both 2010 as 2014. Her performance in last named Festival was honoured with a 2014 Canberra Critic's Circle Award. She established meaningful collaborations with Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Bernadette Harvey, Bengt Forsberg, Ensemble Novalis and the Doelen String Quartet, with whom she toured a staged Janaçek Program, and performed numerous modern works including 'Lettera Amorosa' by Trojahn and the World Premiere of Metamorphosen by Koolmees, commissioned by De Doelen Rotterdam.
Her work for the organisation Flowers of War, commemorating the Centenary of WWI, received great acclaim in both France and Australia. Besides numerous projects she premiered the Diggers' Requiem in Amiens with L'Orchestre de Picardie and in Canberra, Australia, working together with composers Elena Kats-Chernin, Graeme Koehne, Nigel Westlake and Ross Edwards. On invitation of the latter she recently performed and recorded the song cycle "Five Senses" for the ABC. She is well known for her deep musicality and profoundly emotional and moving performances.