Johanna Hill Simpson: 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
From very modest beginnings in 1990, the PALS Children’s Chorus grew to become a key collaborator with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, Cantata Singers, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Early Music Festival, and other orchestras in Boston, New York, Washington DC, and at Tanglewood. Simpson’s PALS chorus performed with such artists as Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Yo Yo Ma, Henri Dutilleux, Tan Dun, Raphael Frubeck DeBurgos, James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Tod Machover, David Hoose, Keith Lockart, and even Nathan Lane and Celine Dion.
Since moving to New Hampshire in 2006, Simpson has catalyzed the growth of another extraordinary musical community. She founded Music on Norway Pond, which presents a high quality and affordable concert series, often in conjunction with the New England Conservatory. She conducts the Norway Pond Festival Singers, a chorus of 30-50 men and women, and the Junior Minstrels, a non-auditioned group of children between age 6 and 13, which made its Tanglewood debut in Summer 2017, singing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Boston Symphony. During that same season, three of her young singers performed Henri Dutilleux's The Shadows of Time with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the fourth set of children she has trained for this piece—including the world premiere twenty years ago.
Simpson has commissioned and premiered an impressive list of new works, including Mehmet Sanlikol’s Ergenekon, Howard Frazin’s Voice of Isaac, Bret Silverman’s Tree of Life, William Cutter’s Awake the Dawn, and Megan Henderson’s The Police Log.
Jody Hill Simpson and her husband Rick, an accomplished tenor, live in Hancock, New Hampshire, on Norway Pond, with their standard poodles, Pearl and May and their cat, Goldie.