Called a “musical force of nature”, always on display is a powerful combination of passion and innovation that easily makes Jade Simmons one of the most exciting and versatile artists on the scene today. For her work on and away from the stage, Essence magazine featured Jade alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas as a part of their Style & Substance List which highlights women who have expanded the definition of beauty and achievement. Additionally, she has been recognized two years in a row by Symphony Magazine, listed as one of Ebony magazine’s Top 30 Leaders under 30, named Houston’s Best Arts Ambassador by the Houston Press and affectionately labeled Classical Music’s “No.1 Maverick” by arts journalist and music critic Greg Sandow.
Jade’s commitment to expanding the boundaries of Classical music and its presentation began during her tenure as the inaugural New Music/New Places Fellow for the prestigious Concert Artist Guild organization. Today, she offers an incredibly diverse mix of repertoire from the Classics to the cutting edge and audiences have come to expect creative projects backed by riveting performances. Most recently, she toured the Paganini Project which features three jaw-dropping sets of variations on Paganini’s infamous Caprice No. 24. Her multimedia program Kandinsky and Scriabin: Hearing Color, Seeing Sound focuses on links between visual art, music and synesthesia 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.” September of 2012, at the Apple store in Soho, she celebrated her newly founded label Superwoman Records and the release of her genre-smashing EP Playing with Fire.
Ms. Simmons has toured the US extensively in recital and with orchestra highlighted by performances at venues as wide-ranging as Ravinia, the Chicago Sinfonietta in Symphony Hall, the Dallas Symphony in Meyerson Symphony Center, New York’s Town Hall, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the Kravis Center, Merkin Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts. 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. Her 2011 ended with a holiday performance at the White House. In February 2013, she made her debut with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra in the Detroit Symphony’s Orchestra Hall and went on to receive the Sphinx Organization’s Medal of Excellence granting her a performance in a ceremony at the US Supreme Court hosted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
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; writer, lecturer and creator of Emerge Already!, a career- building platform for emerging artists including videos, blogs and books. A bit of a social media and branding maven, her expertise has been called on as a professional speaker inside and outside of the music industry. Jade also writes about the arts and its intersection with pop culture, politics, business and technology for the Huffington Post.
Most recently in May of 2013 and during the summers of 2009 and 2011, the world got to know Jade as the webcast host for the Van Cliburn International Piano competition (Fort 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, Leonard Slatkin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Menahem Pressler, the Takács Quartet, James Conlon, Fred Child, John Corigliano and Bob Schieffer.
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 artist residencies include Georgia Tech, the University of Chicago, the Cliburn Foundation’s Musical Awakenings program and the Mississippi Symphony. An artist with a social conscience that moves her to action, she 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, an organization committed to creating meaningful, inclusive concert experiences for families living with autism.
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.