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Marlea Simpson

Associate Principal Viola, Douglas and Louise Leatherdale Chair

Dallas native Marlea Simpson joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s viola section in September 2022. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “Grant Park Orchestra’s new 21-year-old wunderkind” in 2016, she most recently held the principal viola position with the Chicago Sinfonietta in addition to a section position with the Grant Park Orchestra after completing their Project Inclusion Program in 2014. Simpson has also performed as a substitute musician with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Sarasota Orchestra. 

Simpson was a viola fellow with the New World Symphony from 2019-2022. She received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Ettore Causa and Steven Tenenbom. She received the Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, which is awarded to the violist in Yale’s graduating class whose performances exhibited the highest potential for success as a soloist or chamber musician in the field. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Peter Slowik.