The Catholic University of America

Andrew Earle Simpson, composer and pianist


Andrew Earle Simpson, composer and pianist, is ordinary professor and chair of the division of Theory and Composition at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. A composer of opera, orchestral, silent film, chamber, choral, and vocal music, his most recent projects reflect an interest in theatrical music and humanistic subjects. He has received awards and grants from such organizations as the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and the Maryland State Arts Council, among many others.

Simpson's music has been performed across the United States and abroad by such ensembles as the Cedar Rapids Symphony Chamber Players, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Music Forum, counter)induction, Tampa Bay Composers Forum, Red Cedar Trio, Pictures on Silence, Great Noise Ensemble, Lyralos Ensemble (Greece), Catholic University Opera Theater, Cantate Chamber Singers, National Children's Choir, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Children's Choir (NY), numerous other professional and university ensembles, and by such conductors and performers as Theodore Antoniou, Tim Hankewich, Marvin Hamlisch, Brian Ganz, Michael Cameron, Nancy Ambrose King, Noah Getz, and Tim McAllister.

An active silent film composer, pianist, and organist, Simpson is House Accompanist at the Library of Congress' Mt. Pony Theater in Culpeper, VA, and Resident Film Accompanist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. As such, he has performed original film scores frequently at the National Gallery and the Library of Congress (also the Pickford Theater on Capitol Hill), the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the AFI Silver Theater (Silver Spring, MD), Slapsticon (Arlington, VA), the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (as part of the "Meet the Music Makers" Series), and the J. Paul Getty Villa in Malibu, CA. In October 2008, he made his Italian debut at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, and in August 2009, performed a program of his film music at the Sala Cecelia Meireles in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. As solo pianist/composer, his silent film scores appear on three commercially-released DVD box sets.

Simpson also created, and currently directs, the Master of Music in Composition, Stage Music Emphasis program, which opened at Catholic University in August 2005. This innovative graduate program, unique in its scope, combines practical training in collaborative and theatrical composition with professional academic coursework.

Andrew Earle Simpson has been Composer-in-Residence for the Red Cedar Trio (Cedar Rapids, IA, 2005-09) and recently completed a term as Composer-in-Residence with the Cantate Chamber Singers (Bethesda, MD). Capstone Records released his new CD of chamber music, A Fiery and Still Night: Chamber Music by Andrew Earle Simpson, in August 2006. Red Cedar released Fireflies: Chamber Music by Andrew Earle Simpson, a CD devoted entirely to Simpson's works, on the Fleur de Son Classics label, in April 2009. Coming recordings of Simpson's music include his oratorio, A Crown of Stars, with the Cantate Chamber Singers on the Albany Records label, The Golden Prophecy, on a disc of new music commissioned by saxophonist Noah Getz, and his silent film score, Too Many Mammas, on a forthcoming Naxos Records release.

Simpson also appears as composer and performer of several new scores on the Dec. 2007 DVD set Harry Langdon: Lost and Found, both as solo pianist and with the Snark Ensemble, an instrumental group which he co-founded, devoted to the creation and performance of new scores for silent film, and on the 2008 DVD set American Slapstick, Vol. 2 (All Day Entertainment). In July 2009, several more of his film scores appeared on the DVD box set Becoming Charley Chase (All Day Entertainment).