Hillary Simms joins the ABQ, Juilliard faculty

Hillary Simms was recently appointed to be the new trombonist of the American Brass Quintet (ABQ). The distinguished chamber ensemble has been an “Ensemble-in-Residence” at The Juilliard School since 1987. As part of the residency, Simms is the first woman to ever joined the trombone faculty of the prestigious institution, and she is also the first female member of the ABQ. These barrier breaking accomplishments even gained the attention of the New York Times, which featured her in an informative article. As a Julliard factulty member, she will mainly teach chamber music, with some administrative tasks as well.

Simms is from Torbay, at the east part of Newfoundland. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music from McGill University, a Masters in Music Performance from Yale University and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently enrolled at the artistic DMA program at Northwestern University under the guidance of Michael Mulcahy.

Hillary Simms is a complete classical trombonists with a stellar career both as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. She even has professional experience with various jazz groups. In her interview with the New York Times, Simms highlights that professional trombone playing is still a male dominated field. She states that visible female idols are important to inspire more young girls to pursue careers as trombonists.

As a member of the American Brass Quintet, Simms joins an ensemble with history going all the way back to 1960. They have done over 60 recordings and premiered over 150 contemporary pieces by composers such as Jennifer Higdon, Eric Ewasen, Gunther Schüller and Elliott Carter. Simms is filling the position previously held by trombonist Michael Powell, who was the group’s longest serving member (1983-2023).

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator