Evelyn Simpson-Curenton

Evelyn Simpson Curenton was born in 1953. She is a leading African-American composer, pianist, organist, and vocalist.

At age two, Evelyn Simpson-Curenton began to play the piano; at five, she began formal piano lessons; by age nine, she was accompanying her renowned musical family, The Singing Simpsons, in public performances. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Voice from Temple University.

A composer, arranger, pianist, organist, and vocalist, Simpson-Curenton has performed with musical organizations such as Philadelphia's National Opera Ebony (renamed Opera North) and was choral director and arranger for the Howard University Drama Department's production of "Mahalia's Song." She has been commissioned to write works for the American Guild of Organists, George Shirley, the late Duke Ellington, and her sister, the late Joy Simpson, arranged music for Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, and the Porgy and Bess Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera, and has performed with musical organizations such as Philadelphia's National Opera Ebony (later renamed Opera North). In 1979, some of her compositions were performed by the National Symphony and by the Minnesota Orchestra, with Joy appearing as soloist.

Based in the Washington DC, area, Curenton is Music Director of the Washington Performing Arts Society's Men and Women of the Gospel and an associate of the Smithsonian Institution. She has given lectures and participated in workshops on early 18th-century black religious music and the music of African-Americans during the Civil Rights era.