Christina J. Simpson

Violist. Arts Administrator. Teacher.

Christina Simpson began playing violin at 6 years old and then viola at the age of 8 with Linda Ghidossi-Deluca in Santa Rosa. She started in the Santa Rosa Symphony's educational programs, working her way from the Prep Orchestra, through Discovery, to become Principal Violist of the Santa Rosa Youth Orchestra at age 11. 

That same year she auditioned and was accepted into the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, where she became the youngest member and the youngest violist ever to be accepted. That summer she traveled with them on a European Tour to Russia and Ireland. The following summer she attended Boston University's Tanglewood Institute and worked with members of the Tang Quartet and attended master classes with Pamela Frank and Seiji Ozawa. 

As an eighth grader she attended Encore School for Strings in Hudson, Ohio and studied with Jeffrey Irvine of the Cleveland Institute of Music. She won a prestigious scholarship to San Domenico School's Virtuoso Program, a unique program which offered intensive classical strings training after school along with a college preparatory education.

While at the school, she performed in masterclasses with the Cavani, Kronos, San Francisco,and Alexander Quartets. While living at the school, she earned the Principal Violist position in the Orchestra da Camara, which won two ASTA National Orchestra Competitions.

She founded a picnic club based on her love of Jane Austen novels and became a member of the National Honors Society. In the summer of 2004, she once again traveled with the San Franisco Symphony's Youth Orchestra on a European tour, this time touring Western Europe, including performances in the Musikverein and the Concertgebouw. She also attended Music@Menlo in Atherton, CA and performed in masterclasses with members of the Emerson, St. Lawrence, and Takacs Quartets. When she returned to the Youth Orchestra that fall, she was awarded the position of Co-Principal Violist. 

For her first semester in college she attended a semester at the Colburn Conservatory in LA on probation. She failed her end of semester jury and returned home. She was asked to accompany the SFS Youth Orchestra on their European Tour, and she traveled with them through Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. In the fall, she registered at Sonoma State University and started the sport of rowing. She broke the school record for her event, and was recruited to Cal's NCAA Women's Team for the fall of 2009. 

The team won PAC-12's and came 3rd and 2nd at Nationals, with very little help from her. While at Berkeley, she switched majors mid-career from Music to American History and wrote her undergraduate thesis on housing in Richmond, CA after WWII, while interning at the Richmond Museum of History. She co-taught a student-run class on Historical Research and earned a 3.8 in her major.

She served as the Principal Violist for the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra for four years and with them she had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses for Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonin, and Valery Gergiev. In her final year, she traveled with them on a European Tour to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

She was a founding member of the Elden String Quartet.  The group was featured in a 'Next Generation' series presented by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music Society, performed frequently around Berkeley, and was a frequent musical guest of Berkeley's Chancellor. 

 She also began a start-up with her younger sister fostering women's leadership opportunities which occupied her attention for two years but lost funding in the spring of 2014. Last year she worked as a teaching assistant for Music at School of the Madeleine and started a strings program there, which is in its second year. She currently serves as the Music Librarian for Young People's Symphony Orchestra.

She has performed with groups across the Bay Area and beyond, including the Modesto Symphony and Merced Symphony. She is the violist for Elevate Ensemble, a chamber ensemble that fosters the work of new composers and is currently in residence at San Francisco State University. She continues to pursue her love of history through work in the archives of the Berkeley Historical Society and has recently taken up rugby with the Berkeley All Blues.