Maestro Claudia Simpson-Jones
Maestro for Opera pacifica and this season's Principal Guest Conductor
for the Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Olympia, Washington.
Simpson-Jones began studying piano at age 5. By age 10 she was studying
pipe organ, clarinet, oboe, and violin. It was assumed that she would
study music and become a teacher, but the lights of Las Vegas lured her
away from Florida State University in the ‘60’s and she and
a college mate formed a twin piano act in which they played not only the
two pianos, but banjos, clarinets, trumpets, fiddles, and guitars.
After playing Vegas and touring the US, Canada, and
the Bahamas, it became apparent that the act needed more efficient transportation
than a station wagon, so Claudia volunteered to learn to fly and spent
the next several years flying the group around, amassing experience and
flight hours. In 1977 she was one of the first three women hired to fly
Boeing 727’s at Continental Airlines. September of 2000 she retired
as a senior captain for Southwest Airlines, flying Boeing 737’s,
in order to pursue her longtime passion—opera conducting. She has
studied conducting at FSU, University of South Carolina in Columbia, and
Spoleto. In 2001 she conducted the National Opera Orchestra in Beijing,
and in 2002 she recorded the CD “An American Tenor in China”
with Robert William Corl and the China Opera and Dance Symphony of Beijing.
Claudia is President, co-founder and principal conductor
of Opera Pacifica Education and Repertory Association (O.P.E.R.A.).
She is presently employed as a classroom and flight simulator instructor
for the Boeing 737 series aircraft at Alaska Airlines Training Department.
to her otherwise busy schedule, Claudia is the principal conductor for
the Olympia Chamber Orchestra.
Founded in 2002.
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