Vita West Muir
Vita West Muir, Executive/Artistic Director of Litchfield Performing Arts since 1989, founded LPA in 1981. Her efforts have guided its evolution into a force in the arts in Connecticut and beyond. Ms. Muir has developed and run many programs over 30 years, from classical concerts, to the critically acclaimed Litchfield Jazz Festival which she conceived and founded in 1996. She established the teaching arm of the Festival, Litchfield Jazz Camp, as a one week day program in 1997 for 35 students. Eighteen years later it is a five-week day and residential program for students of all ages hosting some 400 students each summer from all over the world, with a quarter of them attending on need-based scholarships.
Litchfield Jazz Festival has featured the "who's-who" of jazz and started and revivified many careers. It is the Festival that first presented Diana Krall to American audiences and introduced Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, and Eric Alexander, among others. It has featured Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Danilo Perez, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and a pantheon too extensive to cite in detail here.
Muir has secured scores of grants to support LPA’s work, at the local, state and federal level. She has served on the boards of Young Audiences, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and as an NEA panelist. Muir received her B.S. in Biology from Fordham University and had a long career as a writer, specializing in medical science. For NASA, she documented the Biomedical Results of Apollo. Her awards include Rotary’s Paul Harris Medal, The Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellowship, the Inge Morath Award and, the 2008 Connecticut Governor’s Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism, and the 2011 Chamber Music America CMAcclaim Award in recognition of outstanding service and cultural contributions to the community. She is gratified to accept the Jazz Journalists Jazz Hero award.
PR & Marketing Director
Lindsey Turner was raised in Litchfield, CT totally immersed in the arts as her mother, Vita West Muir, founded Litchfield Performing Arts the year she was born. Her early exposure to the arts led her to explore music, theater and photography, finally settling on music receiving a B.A in classical voice from the University of Connecticut in 2003 where she was the recipient of the Victor Borge Scholarship, a section leader in three choirs and a founding member of the Student Programming Advisory Committee for the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at UCONN.
Assistant Director / Project Manager
Karen Simpson was born in a small New Jersey town and came to Connecticut as an infant. Her interest in piano and visual art was sparked early by supportive parents who encouraged her to pursue both. Karen graduated from Arizona State University in 2005 with a degree in Art History and worked as an Art Administrator & Registrar in the professional art world until the spring of 2010. She joyfully accepted the offer to join the Litchfield Performing Arts team in April of that year and delighted in the opportunity to finally meld the best of art and music in her life.
Karen is our Litchfield Jazz Festival Technical Director and the Program Coordinator for Project Poetry Live! where she manages an arts-in-education program for some 1200 7th graders across Northwest Connecticut. She is a lover of animals and enjoys hiking, horseback riding, jewelry making, piano and drawing. She lives in Simsbury with her husband and Sedona, their cat.