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Biography
Known for her musical creativity and electrifying stage presence, pianist Jade Simmons is committed to expanding the boundaries of Classical music. Though her affinity is for the rhythmic and percussive repertoire of 20th and 21st century composers, Jade offers a diverse mix of repertoire from the classics to the cutting edge. In 2006, she became the first ever New Music, New Places Fellow for the esteemed Concert Artists Guild organization. Under this initiative, she helps to build new audiences and generate interest in concert music by bringing traditional and new works to non-traditional and alternative venues. Soon the world will get to know her as the face of the Cliburn when she serves as their inaugural host for the competition's live webcast. 2007-08 saw her perform most notably at New York’s Symphony Space, on the Ravinia Rising Stars Series and in Symphony Hall with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Highlights of the current season include debuts in Seattle's Meany Hall, Detroit's Institute of the arts, DC's national Academy of Sciences and at Town Hall and Merkin Hall in New York. Her performance of the piano works of Tania León alongside renowned pianist Ursula Oppens was named one of the Best Concerts in 2005 by ARTFORUM magazine. June 2005 also marked her debut with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in a performance of John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto under the baton of Leslie Dunner. Jade has performed as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician and her performances have been broadcast on PBS and National Public Radio affiliates. She has given performances abroad in Barcelona, the Canary Islands, Paris, Greece and Italy. Her debut record for E1 Music (formerly Koch Records) featuring American works for piano, past and present, is due to be released on March 24, 2009.

Not only a pianist but a youth advocacy speaker as well, Jade has spoken across the country to great acclaim. She speaks on numerous topics of social concern as founder of the Where Do You Stand?! speaking series and has appeared on a variety of radio and television programs where she has spoken on topics ranging from the arts to provocative issues such as youth suicide prevention. As an advocate for the arts in education, she has created a presentation entitled Mozart on the Move for elementary school students. Now in its third season, Jade founded The Impulse Artist Series that provides an audience for uniquely talented, emerging pianists. As a result of these endeavors Jade was named as one of Ebony Magazine’s 2007 Young Leaders under 30. A true renaissance woman of the millennium, Ms. Simmons designs her own concert wear and writes articles on the arts. Winner of numerous awards and scholarships, Jade was Miss Illinois and 1st-runner up at the 2000 Miss America Pageant where she performed Chopin’s Etude in C-sharp minor, Op.10 No.4 live and before a television audience of millions.

A native of Charleston, South Carolina and a graduate of Rice University’s prestigious Shepherd School of Music, she received her Master of Piano Performance degree as a Provost Fellow under the tutelage of concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker. In 2001, she completed her undergraduate work at Northwestern University studying with Dr. Sylvia Wang. Also while at Northwestern, she was a co-founder of the popular percussion and dance ensemble Boomshaka! and integrates percussion into her current performance activities. Joining forces with two former Boomshaka pals (Jonathan Sanford,sax/David Skidmore, percussion), Jade formed the Collide Trio which performs a hybrid mash up of hip-hop, electronica and art music bound together by the creative minds of three classically trained musicians. Ms. Simmons maintains a presence on the world wide web at www.jademedia.org.
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