Alexandra Simpson

Assistant Principal Viola

Alexandra Simpson has traveled the world as a performer and educator: from Bucaramanga, Colombia to Cornwall, England. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, freelancing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player- beginning fall 2022, she serves as the Assistant Principal Violist of the California Symphony. 

Alexandra has appeared as a soloist with Sacramento’s Camellia Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony, SFCM New Music Ensemble, and Classical Music Institute Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Alexandra travels frequently to festivals to perform, learn, and teach. Alexandra has participated in the Prussia Cove International Musicians’ Seminar, Kneisel Hall, Glenn Douglas Memorial Chamber Festival, Bard Music Colombia, Musikiwest Chamberfest in Pebble Beach, and Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, Texas. As an orchestra musician, she has subs with San Francisco Symphony and SFOPERA, and has served as a guest Principal Violist for OPERA San Antonio, Fresno Symphony, Stockton Symphony, One Found Sound, and Merced Symphony.

Alexandra performs regularly in the Bay Area, and has given chamber music concerts at Berkeley Piano Club, Piedmont Center for the Arts, Strings in Emeryville, and with Benicia Chamber Players. At SFJAZZ, she has played in orchestras behind legends such as Chris Potter, Anat Cohen, and Ambrose Akinmusire. She accompanied international superstar DJ Kygo at the closing act of Outside Lands in 2019, and in 2022 at BottleRock in Napa. She has appeared in music videos and documentaries for ZHU, Chuck Prophet and Mercury Soul, and was interviewed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s for his 2020 Build Conference keynote, as well as advertisements for Microsoft Teams. At TEDXMonterey in 2021, she performed with Joan As Policewoman for a special performance. Alexandra has also played with Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Luka Sulic of 2CELLOS, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and performed over 100 shows of The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience. Most recently, she played a four-city sold out tour with Icelandic band Sigur Ros, and performed Cobra with John Zorn as prompter at Roulette in Brooklyn. 

Alexandra earned her Bachelor of Music studying with renowned and Grammy-winning violist Kim Kashkashian at New England Conservatory, with the Donald Green and Lotta Crabtree Scholarships. She received both a Master of Music and Master of Musical Arts from Yale School of Music. While at Yale, Alexandra taught New Haven schoolchildren through the Yale Music in Schools initiative and developed a passion for teaching in underserved communities. Festivals such as Classical Music Institute and Bard Music Colombia have allowed her to develop this passion all over the world. In addition to teaching privately, she also teaches in the underserved city of Richmond at East Bay Center for Performing Arts.

​ While studying chamber music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she received coachings and lessons from world-class musicians, including Dimitri Murrath, Ian Swensen, Bonnie Hampton and the Telegraph Quartet. She had the opportunity to receive masterclasses from Kim Kashkashian, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Milena Pajaro-van-de-Stadt, and participate in residency performances with Tessa Lark, Owen Dalby, Norman Fisher, and Itamar Zorman.