Marietta Simpson

Marietta Simpson, whose deeply expressive, richly beautiful voice has made her one of the most sought-after mezzo-sopranos today, has sung with major orchestras throughout the United States, under many of the world's greatest conductors, including the late Robert Shaw in her Carnegie Hall debut in 1988 as soloist in Brahms's Alto Rhapsody with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In 2008-09 Marietta Simpson sings Maria in Porgy and Bess in a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hind ith's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" with Cathedral Choral Society of Washington DC, and Bach's Cantata No. 78 and Christmas Oratorio, both with Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival. Her 2007-08 season included a performance as soloist in the Verdi Requi in a return to Nashville Symphony; a recital with Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia; two engagements with Singing City in Philadelphia to sing an evening of spirituals and gospel songs, and Beethoven's Missa solemnis ; and two engagements with the Master Chorale of Washington, as soloist in Verdi's Requi and Donald McCollough's Let My People Go. Also in 2007-08, she sang Maria for Opera Birmingham, and the role of Dominga de Adviento in the world premiere of Peter Eotvos's opera, Love and Other D ons, with Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In the 2006-07 season Marietta Simpson performed as Maria in Porgy and Bess with Los Angeles Opera and the same role in a concert version with Opera Pacific. She also appeared as soloist in Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, and Princeton Pro Musica and was soloist in a concert of spirituals presented by Opera Birmingham. Marietta Simpson's recent engagements have included Maria in Porgy and Bess for Washington National Opera, Mozart's Requi with St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson, Elgar's Sea Pictures with Louisville Orchestra under Raymond Leppard, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Phoenix Symphony under Michael Christie, Verdi's Requi with Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Greater Pensacola Symphony, and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the Allentown Symphony. She sang the world premiere of a new work entitled The Thread, composed by J. Mark Scearce to text by Toni Morrison, with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra under its music director, Paul Gambil. A highly sought-after concert artist, Marietta Simpson made her New York Philharmonic debut under Kurt Masur in Mendelssohn's Elijah. This was followed by performances of Beethoven's Missa solemnis and Symphony No. 9, and Bach's St. John Passion, also under Masur. She sang in Carnegie Hall's commemoration of the 250th anniversary ofemessiah and performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under Zdenek Macal, during the inauguration of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Bothemevents were nationally televised. She has toured in Poland, Germany and Russia with Helmuth Rilling and the Stuttgart Bachakadamie Orchestra and Chorus. She has sung at the Prague and Brno Festivals as well as many festivals in the United States, including Grant Park, Ojai, and the Mann Music Center. Also on the concert stage, Ms. Simpson has since performed Handel's Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGegan, and in a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has since performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, and Szymanowski's Stabat Mater in a debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, which she also reprised under Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic. She has sung Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Flint Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. At the Cincinnati May Festival, she has sung the Dvo?ak Stabat Mater, the Bach Cantata No. 21, and performed in recital. She performs frequently at the Bethleh Bach Festival. Highly praised for her appearances on the operatic stage, Ms. Simpson made her debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago singing the role of Addie in Marc Blitzstein's opera Regina to great critical response. She reprised the role at The Kennedy Center, and again for the Bard SummerScape Festival. She debuted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Trevor Nunn's production of Porgy and Bess, which was filmed foR&British television. She then toured Europe with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony in Concert performances of the opera. With Tri-Cities Opera she has since performed the role of Madame Flora in Menotti's The Medium. She was a member of the Houston Opera Studio for several seasons and has sung roles with Mobile and Minnesota Operas, and New York City Opera. Marietta Simpson can be seen on Video Artists International's complete version of Handel's Messiah with the late Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, shown seasonally on PBS television. Other recordings with the Atlanta Symphony orchestra and Robert Shaw, on the Telarc label, include Vivaldi's Gloria, Bach's Magnificat, Schubert Masses No. 2 and No. 6, Beethoven's Mass in C and the Bach B Minor Mass, Janaek's Glagolitic Mass, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and both Dvorak's and Szymanowski's Stabat Mater. She can also be heard on the I recording of Porgy and Bess, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and on the 2006 Grammy-Award-winning recording of William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and Experience, with Leonard Slatkin conducting, on the Naxos label. Temple University has awarded Marietta Simpson its Certificate of Honor as a distinguished alumna, and Philadelphia's National Political Congress of Black Women has presented her with their second annual Chisholm Award as an outstanding African-American woman in music. Other awards include Philadelphia's Musical Fund Society Annual Award, first prize and a study grant from New York Opera Index, the Stewart Award from Tulsa, and the George London Award. She was a winner of the Minna Kaufman Ruud Award and a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions. She was a prize winner in the Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and also was awarded first prize in the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition sponsored by National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women Clubs, Inc. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Simpson graduated from Temple University and received her Master's Degree in Music from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She began her operatic training at Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton under Peyton Hibbitt and Carmen Savocca.