How do you get to be named Classical Music's "No.1 Maverick"? By repeatedly defying expectations, delivering riveting performances and combining passion and innovation at every turn. Called a "musical force of nature", Jade Simmons is easily one of the most exciting and versatile artists on the scene today.
Most recently, Jade has been tapped to portray legendary concert jazz pianist & entertainer Lillette Harris in the upcoming new musical Lillette’s Rhythm Club. Jade will also be featured in the PBS documentary about the world renowned and widely respected artist.
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 (2008) and named Houston’s Best Arts Ambassador by the Houston Press.
Last Spring, she made waves as one of the rare classical artists invited to perform at the taste-making South by Southwest Festival where her show was ultimately branded one of the "Best of SXSW 2014".
For the highly anticipated Netflix documentary on the legendary Nina Simone, Jade performed selections by Chopin, Debussy and Bach for the footage highlighting Simone's early Classical beginnings. The film premiered January 2015 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Founder of the School of Emergence, Jade coaches and trains Visionaries, Influencers and Powerhouses-in-the-making how to market their messages, upgrade their profiles and expand their platforms. In April of 2016, she hosted The Audacious Life 2016 in Houston, a bold event blending faith-based inspiration and marketplace motivation.
As a speaker and presenter, Jade's impact spans a multitude of industries and touches an incredibly varied demographic, from kids to corporate. For business, technology and the arts, she speaks powerfully on transformative leadership, Maverick Behavior™, out-of-the-box branding, discovering creative identity and innovation to the likes of the Food Market institute, Mass Mutual, Self-Employment in the Arts, TedX and the Hershey Company.
Her female and faith-centered audiences receive uncommon inspiration in the areas of Supernatural Confidence, the discovery of purpose and the pursuit of passion. An unusually engaging media personality, American Public Media's Fred Child invited Jade to co-host an episode of his hit radio show Performance Today and the arts world has come to know her as the knowledgeable and relatable face of the webcast for the Van Cliburn International Piano competition (Ft. Worth, TX) and the XIV Tchaikovsky International Competition (St. Petersburg/Moscow). There she introduces all the performances and conducts live interviews with renowned figures in Classical music including the legendary pianist Van Cliburn, renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, lauded American composer John Corigliano and even acclaimed news veteran 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.
In her inimitable career as a concert pianist, Jade has remained committed to expanding the boundaries of Classical music and its presentation and as a result has revolutionized the concert platform. 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.
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, New York's Town Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts. She has performed at The White House and has also received the Sphinx Organization's Medal of Excellence in a concert held at the US Supreme Court hosted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
In 2009, Jade proudly became the inaugural Spotlight Artist for Music for Autism, an organization committed to creating meaningful, inclusive concert experiences for families living with autism. Currently in production is Jade's concert adventure, -Romejii (Ro- MEE- jee), a stunning one-woman show spanning Rachmaninoff to Rap with world-class storytelling in between.
Simmons' multiple talents make her a true Renaissance woman of the millennium taking her in the direction of triple #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author for her new book Audacious Prayers for World Changers, founder of Superwoman Records, arts presenter, coach/consultant, and she writes about the arts and its intersection with pop culture, politics and society for the Huffington Post.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jade completed her undergraduate work in piano performance at Northwestern University. While there, she went on to become Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois and ultimately first runner-up at the 2000 Miss America Pageant. In that capacity she served as an advocate for Youth Suicide Prevention and ultimately testified in front of Congress alongside Tipper Gore, Surgeon General Satcher and author Danielle Steele on behalf of Mental Health funding. Ms. Simmons received her Master's degree at Rice University in Houston, TX where today she teaches a graduate level course on Artist Career Development in the University of Houston's new Program in Arts Leadership.