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Jade Simmons
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 concert 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, once 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. Jade's multiple talents make her a true Renaissance woman of the millennium. She founded the Impulse Artist Series which presents emerging artists and has created Emerge Already! a career building platform for aspiring artists. In past summers, the world has gotten to know her as the webcast host for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Tchaikovsky International Competition. A gifted speaker, her presentations give powerful insights into how creating a unique personal brand can lead to the creation of ideas that will have a lasting impact on the world. With boundless energy and intellect, Jade Simmons teaches audiences not only how to lead, but how to start achieving beyond what they ever thought possible.

Jade is a native of Charleston, South Carolina and completed her undergraduate work in piano performance at Northwestern University. She was also Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois, and first runner-up at the 2000 Miss America Pageant. Simmons holds a Master's degree from Rice University, where she studied with acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker.

Entries by Jade Simmons

#JadeTalks to Mark Powell: A Leading Voice in Arts Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 5:52 PM

Even before I interviewed Mark Powell, a Ford Foundation award-winning conductor and popular instructor in the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music, I already knew I would be talking to one of the true luminaries on the national discussion about leadership in the arts. Still yet,...

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Creative Identity Series: Half-Brained Leadership & Religiosity True Culprits of Arts Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 1:17 PM

Truth is, most arts organizations and most artists do not need more funding. They need more creativity. When one of the world's most recognizable orchestras is routinely, though quietly, ridiculed as being one of the worst sounding and most boring and one of the world's top music schools is noted...

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In the Wake of Trayvon Martin: A Paranoid Artist Mom's Internal Dialogue With Her Son

(257) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 5:56 PM

Son, you're only five now but I can see that I need to make some important decisions for you. I didn't think in 2013 we'd need to talk through this but I shouldn't be shocked as my dad always warned me nothing much has changed. Still, I'm feeling guilty because...

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Elvis, Meryl & Michael at the Cliburn: The Intangibles of "It"

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 1:43 AM

Literally, the toe of his dress shoe appeared from behind the small partition that shielded the pianists from the audience, especially used when they wanted to take a sip of water or dab the sweat from their dripping foreheads in between pieces. But in his case, he hadn't yet played...

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The Ethnography of Second Chances: 2nd Recitals at the Cliburn

(2) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 12:42 PM

By the time this article posts the 12 semi-finalists for the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will have been announced. I've already had countless discussions with camera crew, ushers and audience members who all agree that while they have their favorites, they wouldn't wish the job of the jury...

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A Cameraman's Bird's Eye View at the Cliburn: It's Not What You Think

(2) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 2:16 PM

The other night as we walked back to our cars parked outside of Bass Hall, the final notes of Petrushka not long since fluttering in the air around us, I had a quick conversation with two cameramen. Before they included me in the conversation I walked quietly behind them, having...

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He Should Know: A Cliburn Gold Medalist's Surprising Words of Wisdom

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 9:38 PM

When Haochen Zhang won gold four years ago at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition alongside Japanese pianist Noboyuki Tsujii, the audience witnessed a baby-faced 19 year old with the piano skill and fortitude of someone much older. But mostly what stood out was that he was so darn...

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In Memorium: the Compassion of Van Cliburn

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2013 | 1:19 PM

Even in my considerable heels, it still seemed that he loomed large overhead. A glorious shock of still wavy white hair and those gargantuan hands, he wrung them in nervousness. Surely, he wasn't worried about going on camera. I'd seem him hold court and by all accounts he was always...

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Thank God There's No Black Monday in the Arts World, or Maybe There Should Be?

(1) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 11:45 AM

A poor telemarketer for the local symphony called my house one evening. She caught me on a rough night, one fraught with one too many solicitation calls and the demands of a grumpy three-year-old. Out of obligation I listened to the spiel, and when she was done I politely say...

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I'm Sorry, I Thought Celebrating Dying Young Was Always "Inappropriate"

(38) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 4:47 PM

A sincere kudos to Ke$ha for supporting the pulling of her hit song "Die Young" from the airwaves following the Newtown tragedy. It shows a sensitive and thoughtful side of the artist rarely on display. I just wish the song had never made it to market in the first place.

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The Kickstarter Mindset: An Artist's Curse

(8) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 11:57 AM

Making art for art's sake is an artist's job. As is the nature of a job, art should turn up a profit; it must be viable while also admirable. But the making of art that promotes tangible change or new perspective might also be worthy of investment by outside sources....

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The Ugliness of the MacArthurs: The Reality Behind Artistic Jealousy

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 2:25 PM

The MacArthur Genius Grants were announced -- did you feel it, that sharp pang?

Let me first say there's nothing truly ugly about the MacArthur Genius grants. In fact, they're downright beautiful. They're the modern-day patron with no strings attached. Creatives and academicians get recognized without the begging, or the...

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Artists Moms CAN Have It All, Too: The 7 Little 'R' Words That Get You Everything You Want

(3) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 4:09 PM

Let's just put this out there. No one ever asks if men can have it all. You know why? Because men don't ask themselves that same question. They just sort of live their lives and shift things around when need be. They live in phases allowing themselves to intensely focus...

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The Modern-Day Hustler: 5 Things They Do That You're Not Willing to

(3) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 5:06 PM

It's 2:30 a.m. and I can still smell it. It's faint but traceable, no shower could get rid of this particular brand of pheromone. One part sweat, equal parts blood and tears. A dash of desperation mixed with a dollop of hope. A whole heap of tenacity with a splash...

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Classically Trained ... Rappers?!

(7) Comments | Posted April 26, 2012 | 3:38 PM

Rappers Tupac, Nicki Minaj, Slick Rick, Kanye West, Dana Dane and newcomer Azealia Banks all have one thing in common. They all got schooled! Any artist worth their salt has sat through Ear Training, Voice and Diction, Theatre History 1, Art History, and possibly Keyboard Skills and Chorus during the...

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From Our Cold, Dead Hands!: Artists and their Apple Products

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2012 | 11:40 AM

The Samsung commercial shows trendy young people eagerly and willingly standing in line outside of what looks like a slick Apple store. The camera turns to one of the guys in line as he says with snooty nonchalance, "I can't get a Samsung. I'm creative." It was supposed...

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Gop Reimagined: Gingrich in Tights?

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2012 | 12:41 PM

So it's taken weeks to return to what started out as an easy metaphorical ride, casting GOP candidates in the roles of our most popular Opera characters. Then the race got twisty and turny, Gingrich got interesting, Paul not so easy to brush off and suddenly my casting job got...

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Bachmann as Butterfly?: GOP Candidates Reimagined as Famous Opera Characters, Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 4:28 PM

Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

Some plot text taken from Aaron Greene's Synopsis of Madama Butterfly on

Pinkerton: Played by the GOP Nomination and/or Republican Love

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Rick Perry as Carmen?: GOP Candidates Reimagined as Famous Opera Characters, Part 1

(1) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 3:54 PM

Truth is, I'm not a big opera fan but after watching this year's race for the GOP nomination play out, I might be newly converted. It has been entertaining to say the least; a sensational mix of comedy, drama, scandal, conflict and ultimately political death. For a bit of fun,...

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Know Your Worth: A New Year's Resolution Every Artist (and Every Person) Should Make

(4) Comments | Posted December 31, 2011 | 10:34 AM

An artist friend of mine calls me the other night, upset that his manager is still accepting low ball fees without a fight from presenters he's already proven himself to in performances from years before. He goes on and on about how much he has accomplished over the last few...

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