Jo Ann Simpson

Jo Ann Simpson earned a Bachelor of Music degree in bassoon performance from the University of Ottawa in 1978, where she studied with Gerald Corey. Subsequently, she pursued graduate studies with William Waterhouse in London, England. While there, she won the position of principal bassoon in the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela, a position that she held until 1986. She then returned to Ottawa and has lived there ever since, working as a freelance performer and teacher.

As a freelance bassoonist, Jo Ann has worked with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the McGill Chamber Orchestra (Orchestre Classique de Montreal), the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, the Ottawa Symphony, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau Quebec, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Québec, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Trois Rivieres and the Orchestra of Northern New York.

Jo Ann has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Venezuela, Uruguay and Canada, and has performed often in chamber music and solo recitals, recorded by both the CBC and Radio Canada.

As a teacher, Jo Ann Simpson maintains the largest bassoon studio in Ottawa. She teaches the Jumpstart Bassoon program for the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. She is the bassoon tutor for the city’s English and French arts-specialized high schools and Professor of Bassoon at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Gatineau and the University of Ottawa.

Jo Ann’s students have gone on to study at the Juilliard School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University, McGill University (Montreal), the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Montreal, the Glenn Gould School of Music (Toronto), University of Ottawa, Northwestern University (Chicago), the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel and the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, Switzerland. Several of them have played with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie and have won the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Awards. Professional orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia and l’Orchestre Metropolitaine de Montreal include her students as full-time members.

Jo Ann Simpson is one of the few bassoonists in the world who play both German and French system bassoon. She has appeared at IDRS Conferences in Las Vegas (1987), Baltimore (1991), Greensboro (2004), Muncie (2006), New York City (2014), and Granada, Spain (2018) as a member of the North American French Bassoon Quartet. She also appears on the North American French Bassoon Quartet debut CD.