Lifting Up Unheard Voices

Photo of Michelle Maestas Simonsen
Photo by Dario Griffin.

Radio host and Thornton alum Michelle Maestas Simonsen takes on new role as program director at Seattle’s Classical KING.

Michelle Maestas Simonsen (BM ’06, MCM ’12) wants more people to know about Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Nadia Boulanger. She wants listeners to have the chance to hear new music by Julie Giroux and Takashi Yoshimatsu.

As radio host at Classical KING FM 98.1, Seattle’s classical music station, she has introduced countless audiences to talented women composers and composers of color, both old and new. And in her 15-year career at USC Thornton as director of production and operations, she has overseen countless rehearsals and performances that have brought classical music forward, celebrating its history while embracing its future.

Simonsen will continue to prioritize unheard voices as she takes on a new role at Classical KING. In June, she starts a new position as program director at the listener-supported station for classical music and the arts in Seattle, Bellevue, and the Puget Sound Region.

“Classical music is a universal language, and I believe that it should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or identity,” said Simonsen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance at the USC Thornton School of Music and a Master of Communication Management – Broadcast & Entertainment from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.