Simos Papanas was born in Thessaloniki in 1979. He has studied violin, baroque violin, composition, and mathematics at the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Oberlin College, and Yale University. He studied violin with Petar Arnaudov, Taras Gabora, and Erick Friedman, baroque violin with Marilyn McDonald, and composition with Christos Samaras.
He has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Kammerorchester Basel, Geneva Camerata, Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Athens and Thessaloniki State Orchestras, ERT National Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, the Sofia Soloists, Cyprus Symphony, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, the American Bach Soloists, and the Philharmonia Moments Musicaux (Taiwan).
He has recorded as a soloist for Deutsche Grammophon, BIS, and Centaur. He has performed in festivalssuch as Verbier (Switzerland), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Savannah Music Festival (U.S.A.), Sommets Musicaux Gstaad (Switzerland), the international violin festival of St Petersburg, Athens Festival, and Tokyo Music Festival. He has given masterclasses at the Louisiana State University, Soochow University (Taipei, Taiwan), the University of Thessaly and the University of Macedonia (Greece), Pancho Vladigerov National Academy (Sofia, Bulgaria), and several music festivals. His compositions have been performed and recorded around the world (U.S.A., Russia, Canada, Peru, Iran, Japan, Taiwan, and most European countries), in prestigious concert halls, including the Musikverein in Vienna, Tonhalle, Zurich, and the National Theatre and Concert Hall, Taipei.
Since 2003, he has been concertmaster of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.