Simpson, Rosalind (1950[?] - 2012) | University of North Texas Special Collections

Name: Simpson, Rosalind (1950[?] - 2012)


Historical Note:

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> "A native of South Africa, Simpson received her Bachelor of Music degree (with honors) from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a Teacher’s Licentiate from the Trinity School of Music in London. At that point her instrument was the piano, but a chance encounter with an acquaintance’s harp led to infatuation. She continued her education at the Brussels Conservatoire in Belgium, a historic hotbed of harp playing, and in the course of four years’ study she earned the Diplôme Supérieur in harp as well as Premiers Prix (“top distinctions”) in both harp and chamber music. She went on to a stint as principal harpist of the Bern Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland.

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> In 2005, she told Pasatiempo that her parents were initially miffed about her switching to the harp, which, she explained, has always been an expensive instrument. “Back then,” she said, “it cost more than a car costs, and … the fact that I needed a harp and needed a car to move the harp didn’t please them.” Once they realized the level of her commitment, they acquiesced.

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> By the end of her career, she owned and played three full-size concert harps as well as various smaller instruments, including a Celtic harp that she used for folk-inspired repertoire. She recently donated her library of some 700 solo, chamber and orchestral harp parts to the University of North Texas.

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> Her first performance in Santa Fe was in 1981 on what, by coincidence, was also the inaugural concert of the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble. She appeared with that chorus frequently over the years — Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” was her bread-and-butter piece — and in 2011 she was featured in the group’s 30th-anniversary program. Linda Raney, who has directed the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble since 1987, said that four of the compositions her ensemble has commissioned were written specifically to include Simpson.

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> “Her willingness to work with so many diverse groups spoke to her ability to bond people together,” Raney said. “She was a common element we all shared. She was a consummate musician, and the grace she brought to rehearsals — to all situations, really — was transformative. Everyone had such confidence when Rosalind was among the musicians.”

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; "> Although Simpson was late coming to her instrument, her love of the harp never diminished. In her 2005 Pasatiempo interview, she described the tones of the harp as “the glue that fuses the sounds of the other instruments together. And I would say it’s the most visually beautiful of all the instruments. I can stand backstage and look at a harp onstage, and it just captures my breath.”

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; ">

Source:

Keller, J. M. (2012). Harpist Rosalind Simpson, vivid presecence in

          he Santa Fe music scene, dies. The Santa Fe New

          Mexican. Retrieved from:

http://www.sfnewmexican.com/Local%20News/100912simpsonobit#.UXbGUaVIrEA


 
 
 
 
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