Aaron Simms ’15 Produces ‘Mendelssohn on the Hudson’

Emma Schillage
October 25, 2021

Theatre Management and Producing alumnus Aaron Simms '15 is the producer of Mendelssohn on the Hudson, a self-guided historical and musical walking tour of the German Jewish Washington Heights. Simms works as the Managing Director at York Theatre Company and is the founder and executive producer of Inwood Art Works, the company associated with Mendelssohn on the Hudson

The walking tour follows the footsteps of the German Jews and others who fled 1930s Nazi Germany to settle in Washington Heights. This area was referred to as the “Frankfurt on the Hudson” at the time. The tour route runs from West 181 Street to the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park. Each specific location offers a musical story. This creates a multi-layered connection between storyteller and listener. It’s an unusual, accessible, and free musical experience via smartphone or another internet-enabled device. 

Throughout the tour, visitors can listen via podcast to twelve episodes with songs based on historically-gathered stories from neighborhood residents set to Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. Each song offers a snapshot of German Jewish life from the 1930s to today. Mendelssohn on the Hudson combines oral history, musical theatre, Mendelssohn’s music, and local landmarks in order to create a record of the German Jewish culture of the Northern Manhattan area.

The self-directed walking tour runs from October 14-24, 2021.