In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Evelyn Simpson Curenton. This episode features a performance by singer Jearlyn Steele.
Evelyn Simpson Curenton
The versatile musician and composer Evelyn Simpson Curenton is one of today’s leading arrangers of gospel music and African-American spirituals, as well as original choral music outside of these genres. Born in Philadelphia, Curenton demonstrated exceptional talent at the piano from a young age. Starting at just nine years old, she would accompany her family musical group, The Singing Simpsons of Philadelphia, in performances. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Voice from Temple University and has shared her talents as a composer, singer, pianist, and organist in performances around the world. Her compositions are widely performed by acclaimed musicians and ensembles, including Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman in their infamous 1990 concert at Carnegie Hall. Today, Curenton is based in Washington D.C. and served for many years as artistic director and music director of the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Men and Women of the Gospel and an associate of the Smithsonian Institution. As a talented vocalist, she skillfully writes sacred and secular choral music with the needs of singers in mind.
Suggested choral pieces:
- Git on Board (Morningstar Music)
- My Soul Hath Found Refuge in Thee (also known by the title Psalm 91) (Morningstar Music)
- Zion’s Walls (Morningstar Music)
For more on Evelyn Simpson Curenton, visit her website: https://evelynsimpsoncurenton.com/welcome.html