Simos Papanas was born in Thessaloniki in 1979. He studied violin, baroque violin, composition and mathematics. He began his studies at the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki, and completed them at Oberlin College and Yale Universlty in the USA. His teachers were Petar Arnaudov, Taras Gabora, Eric Friedman (violin), Marilyn McDonald (baroque violin) and Christos Samaras (composition).
He has collaborated with many orchestras as a soloist, or conducting on the violin, including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Kammerorchester Basel, Camerata Salzburg, Geneva Camerata, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the state orchestras of Athens and Thessaloniki, Camerata of Athens, National Symphony Orchestra of ERT, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Soloists of Sofia, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Niš Symphony Orchestra (Serbia0, Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, L 'Arte del Mondo (Germany), American Bach Soloists, New Century Chamber Orchestra (San Francisco) and Philharmonia Moments Musicaux of Taiwan.
He has recorded as a soloist for the labels Deutsche Grammophon, BIS and Centaur. Among the festivals in which he has participated are Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Odessa Classics (Ukraine), Sommets Musicaux Gstaad (Switzerland), the international violin festival of St. Petersburg (Russia), Baroktage Melk (Austria), Bristol Proms (England), Pollenca Festival (Mallorca, Spain), the Helicon Foundation (New York), Athens Festival and Tokyo Music Festival.
He has performed in some of the world's most important concert halls, such as the Carnegie Hall (New York), the Palau de la Musica (Barcelona), the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, the Harpa (Reykjavik) and the Herbst Theater (San Francisco). He regularly collaborates with the internationally renowned violinist Daniel Hope, and has collaborated in chamber music with leading musicians, including the Vienna, Berlin, New York and Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestras. He has given master classes seminars at universities such as McGill (Montreal, Canada), Louisiana State University, University of the Pacific (California), Soochow University (Taipei, Taiwan), Pancho Vladigerov Academy, Sofia, N. Macedonia, but also at the Academy of Staatskapelle, Dresden.
His compositions have been performed and recorded in many parts of the world (USA, Russia, Canada, Peru, Iran, Japan, Taiwan and most European countries), in important halls such as the Musikverein in Vienna, the Tonhalle in Zurich and the National Concert Hall in Taipei, as well as in theater festivals where music for theater was presented. Since 2003 he has been permanent concertmaster of Thessaloniki State Orchestra.