SMTD presents concert pianist & celebrated speaker Jade Simmons in MLK Symposium events

As part of the University of Michigan’s annual Revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance will host Jade Simmons, a classical pianist who has taken her career outside the borders of classical music and has become a renowned “emergence expert” and inspirational speaker. The event, on Sunday, January 15 at 4:30 p.m., features Simmons presenting a musical keynote address titled “The Art of Impact,” to inspire artists to unleash purpose beyond the stage. The event is at Stamps Auditorium in the Walgreen Drama Center (1226 Murfin Ave, Ann Arbor).

Simmons’s presentation will challenge audience members to create realms of impact and influence that play a unique role in today’s society by way of expanding vision, molding more imaginative mindsets, and providing unique solutions to the world around us. As part of the event, Simmons will partner with SMTD student Stuart Carlson, a junior double majoring in violin and composition, to perform his arrangement of “Amazing Grace.”

During her visit to Michigan, Simmons will also present two other events, which are open to students across campus as well as the public. They include “Uncommon Career Building for Artists,” presented by SMTD’s EXCEL program (Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Career Empowerment) on Thursday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the EXCEL Lab in the Moore Building. Part inspiration and part information, Simmons will offer uncommon strategies for building a sustainable, profitable, and rewarding career outside of the more typical paths artists tend to take.

In addition, in her role as a concert pianist and the webcast host for the Van Cliburn and the Tchaikovsky International Competitions, Simmons will present a piano forum, “From Competing to Compelling: A Crucial Shift in Mode of Operation,” on Tuesday, January 17 at 11:40 a.m. at Britton Recital Hall in the Moore Building.  Here she will bring a unique perspective to the discussion about the role of competitions in building an artist’s career.

As a speaker and presenter, Simmons’s impact spans a multitude of industries, such as the Food Market institute, Mass Mutual, Self-Employment in the Arts, TedX, and the Hershey Company. She speaks on transformative leadership, Maverick BehaviorTM, out-of-the-box branding, discovering creative identity, and innovation.

In her career as a concert pianist, Simmons has remained committed to expanding the boundaries of classical music and its presentation. She offers a diverse mix of repertoire from the classics to the cutting edge, and has toured the United States extensively, in recital and with orchestras. She has performed at The White House and received the Sphinx Organization’s Medal of Excellence in a concert held at the U.S. Supreme Court hosted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In 2009, Simmons became the inaugural Spotlight Artist for Music for Autism, an organization committed to creating meaningful, inclusive concert experiences for families living with autism.


Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.

Uncommon Career Building for Artists (an EXCEL presentation)
EXCEL Lab, E.V. Moore Building, 1100 Baits Dr.

Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The Art of Impact (part of the MLK Symposium)
Walgreen Drama Center, Stamps Auditorium, 1226 Murfin Ave.

Tuesday, January 17, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Piano Forum : From Competing to Compelling: A Crucial Shift in Mode of Operation
Britton Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Building, 1100 Baits Dr.