Jade’s multiple talents make her a true Renaissance woman of the millennium taking her in the direction of arts presenter as founder of the Impulse Artist Series, 2009 winner of Best Non-Profit Arts Series (Houston Press); writer, lecturer and creator of Emerge Already!, a career- building platform for emerging artists including videos, blogs and books. Most recently, she has begun writing for the Huffington Post’s Arts section and 2011 ended with a performance at the White House.
Jade is committed to expanding the boundaries of Classical music and its presentation. From 2006-2010 she served as the inaugural New Music/New Places Fellow for the prestigious Concert Artist Guild organization. She offers a diverse mix of repertoire from the Classics to the cutting edge and audiences have come to expect creative projects backed by riveting performances. Her program Kandinsky and Scriabin: Hearing Color, Seeing Sound focuses on links between visual art and music and The Rhythm Project is an exploration of pieces that exploit the more percussive nature of the piano. An extension of The Rhythm Project, Jade released her debut CD in March 2009 for eOne Music entitled Revolutionary Rhythm, praised by Allmusic.com as “a thought-provoking, entertaining, and fun debut that easily establishes Simmons as a major talent.” This season, on her newly founded label Superwoman Records, she will release the EP Playing with Fire featuring works for piano, Rhodes organ and electronics. 2013 will see the release of her sophomore CD with eOne called #PaganiniProject featuring three jaw-dropping sets of variations on Paganini’s infamous Caprice No. 24.
Ms. Simmons, a Yamaha Artist, has toured the US extensively, highlighted by performances on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the University of Washington World Series in Seattle, Merkin Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Her performances of Guggenheim award-winning composer Tania Léon’s piano works alongside pianist Ursula Oppens was named one of the Best Concerts in 2005 by ARTFORUM magazine. In 2012, she returned to Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall and is making her debut at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
She has appeared as concerto soloist with the Dallas Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta at Chicago’s Symphony Hall, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas at Town Hall, the University of Chicago Symphony, the Imperial and the Illinois Symphony Orchestras. In 2013, shell return to Illinois for performances with the Peoria and Jacksonville Symphonies in performances of Gershwin and Rachmaninoff respectively. Simmons has also performed in New York’s many alternative spaces including Symphony Space, the Harlem Gatehouse,
Le Poisson Rouge, Joe’s Pub and Brooklyn’s BamCafé and in September 2012 will perform in the state of the art concert hall at the Apple store in Soho.
Jade is a passionate advocate for the arts in education and has created multiple programs suitable for all ages and used with great success across the country. Past residencies include the University of Chicago, the Cliburn Foundation and the Mississippi Symphony. 2012 collaborations included an extensive residency as part of Georgia Tech University’s Ferst Center ARTech program which explored the intersection of arts and technology and found her performing alongside an improvising robot.
An artist with a social conscience that moves her to action, Jade serves as an advocate for America’s youth, addressing groups across the country on sensitive issues such as youth suicide prevention and mental health awareness. In 2009, Jade became the inaugural Spotlight Artist for Music for Autism, a New York-based organization for which she performs and has assisted in their expansion to Houston, TX. Jade has been recognized two years in a row by Symphony Magazine for her work on and away from the stage. In light of these achievements, she was listed as one of Ebony magazine’s Top 30 Leaders under 30 and named Houston’s Best Arts Ambassador by the Houston Press. Essence magazine will feature her alongside Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas as a part of their icon awards which highlights women who have expanded the definition of beauty and achievement.
In the summer of 2009 and 2011, the world got to know Jade as the webcast host for the 13th Van Cliburn Piano competition (Ft. Worth, TX) and the XIV Tchaikovsky International Competition (St. Petersburg/Moscow), where she introduced all the performances and conducted live interviews with renowned figures including Van Cliburn, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Menahem Pressler, the Takács Quartet, James Conlon, Fred Child, John Corigliano and Bob Schieffer. She will return as host of the 2013 Cliburn competition in May.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jade completed her undergraduate work in piano performance at Northwestern University under Sylvia Wang. While there, she co-founded the immensely popular percussion and dance ensemble Boomshaka!. Simmons also became Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois and ultimately first runner-up at the 2000 Miss America Pageant where she performed Chopin’s Etude in C-sharp minor, Op. 10, No. 4, before a live television audience of millions. Ms. Simmons holds a Master’s degree from Rice University, where she studied as a Provost Fellow under acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker.