A trip around the globe with 2MBS Fine Music Sydney and Simon Moore
Simon Moore talks New York and all things music and travel
First Class Magazine’s Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan sits down with 2MBS Fine Music Sydney’s Simon Moore to talk all things music and travel.
Simon Moore on New York, ABBA and Chopin
2MBS Fine Music Sydney’s Simon Moore can be found most years on Broadway. “Broadway is home to the pinnacle of the peak art form for musical theatre,” says Simon. He describes it with gusto saying that it offers “musical theatre in various flavours including outstanding and new work.”
“Musical theatre speaks to me”, he says. “So whenever I travel I try and tag on a trip to New York and to Broadway to the end of another trip whether it be Cuba, South America or Mexico for example.”
Simon’s New York travel tips
Simon doesn’t do things by halves. When he was last in New York he saw ten shows in a week. He stays at the Sofitel on 44th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues because of the location and also because he is a gold Accor member which means possible upgrades and good deals. He says the location immediately around Times Square is loud and chaotic so having the Sofitel as an option which is neither of these is perfect. He can walk to the theatres from there as well as popping down to Macys or up to Bloomingdales.
His sojourns in New York also mean shopping. “I do a lot of clothes shopping in New York and love Banana Republic along with Calvin Klein, Macys and Bloomingdales. I’m not really into high end labels, I prefer the staples. As the seasons are opposite to Australia, I often get some great deals on off season fashion.”
When asked for a favourite coffee shop, Simon says he doesn’t bother with coffee in New York. “Espressos are very hit and miss and it’s usually at least US$5 for a small coffee and the quality can be questionable.”
A New York diner
While he might skip the coffee, he doesn’t skip the breakfast. “There’s nothing quite like a New York breakfast,” he says whimsically. He loves the Times Square Diner on Eighth Avenue for its retro décor and French Toast.
As he dashes from matinee to evening performance, there is not a lot of time for fine dining. So Mexican which is generally much better in the US compared with Australia is great for pre theatre shows. El Centro on 54th and Ninth is a favourite cheap eat where you can have a great burrito bowl and a big margarita.
One of the hidden gems Simon has found in his travels is the JP Morgan Library on Madison Avenue. It was JP Morgan’s house and has a collection of his items but it is worth going for the library itself, according to Simon. He says, “It is an old style library with a ladder going to the book shelves in a square room with a stained glass ceiling and staircases going up to a balcony. It’s quite small scale and takes about 45 minutes to explore. Another place to visit in New York is the museum at Eldridge Street. It is one of the early synagogues and it houses information and items on the Jewish experience in New York.”
For entertainment 54 below on 54th Street hosts a variety of cabaret acts and has the whole full theatre restaurant thing going. There is a regular best of Broadway night which is worth including in any schedule.
The Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Back in Australia, Simon says his favourite destination locally in terms of music is Townsville because of the Australian festival of Chamber Music. “I found it quite delightful because rather than going to a concert to see the same musicians each concert has a mixture of musicians.”
Warsaw is the first destination Simon visited purely for music. Seeing the Chopin Museum in Warsaw he said was quite remarkable. “I play the piano so it was of particular interest to me. It was one thousand times better than the Mozart Museum in Salzburg. It was really well done with a modern sensibility and style.”
It was also in Warsaw where Simon found his favourite souvenir. “It’s a tiny chopping board, but not something you would chop anything on. You’d put some cheese out with crackers. On it is written ‘Little Chopin Board.”
Poland was also memorable for Krakow where Simon says, “there is always some 19th century salon having a sixty minute recital and it’s not all Chopin!’
And he loved the Christmas lights strung down the medieval centre which was faithfully rebuilt after the annihilation in World War II.
Over in London, Simon, who is a huge ABBA fans waxes lyrical about the ABBA show now playing. He says, “It is incredible seeing these little holograms. You swear they are really in front of you. And I absolutely love their new song, Don’t shut me down.’ It is the song I was waiting my entire life for.”
While Simon has travelled extensively there are many destinations still on his list which include Greece, Japan, India, the gorillas in Rwanda, and Antarctica.
Our favourite question at First Class is to find out which three musical performers from history or modern times would our interviewees like to have dinner with.
Dinner with Yehudi Menuhin, Scott Joplin and perhaps Pavarotti
Simon says, “It wouldn’t be Beethoven or Mozart as they would probably be quite unpleasant to have dinner with. It would be Yehudi Menuhin, Scott Joplin as I’m a great admirer of his music and enjoy playing it and the final place would be taken by Haydn or Bach or Pavarotti. I’d invite them to my house to but I don’t think I could play anything for them! I have a grand piano so could accompany them if they were on the violin, maybe. In terms of food, I would panic about it for ages. I’d probably do a French chicken, a roast chicken in red wine like a coq au vin or a Delia Smith recipe which is a go to for me; it’s a Basque-style paella with chorizo and prawns in rice. It’s relatively easy to make but looks hard although there is a lot of chopping.”
We assume he wouldn’t be using his Little Chopin Board.
Simon has been presenting Breakfast since 2004, and since late 2020 is the presenter and producer of In Conversation. He has served on the organisation’s Board, including two years as Chair, and has been on the panel to select the annual Kruger scholar, a $10,000 endowment awarded each year to an emerging Australian musician or composer.
When not absorbed in the Fine Music scene, Simon owns and manages Elton Ward Creative, a boutique CBD-based graphic design agency whose clients include government agencies and blue chip companies.
Simon was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Australia Day honours for services to broadcasting and the community.
For more information on 2MBS Fine Music Sydney visit 2MBS Fine Music Sydney
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book an incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.