Wilhelmina Smith

Guest Musician

Wilhelmina Smith is known for performances of intense commitment, poetic insight and dazzling versatility. Praised by The Strad as “A consummate communicator of the new virtuosity,” Smith’s 2019 recording of solo works by Salonen and Saariaho (Ondine) and her recent 2021 recording of solo works by Per Nørgård and Poul Ruders (Ondine) have earned praise from reviewers including BBC and Gramophone. In 2020, her recording of Saariaho’s Sept Papillons was featured in the New York Times “5 Minutes That Will Make You Love the Cello.”

Ms. Smith was awarded a 2015-2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians, one of the largest and most established fellowships of its kind in the U.S. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra while a student at the Curtis Institute of Music and in 1997 was a prizewinner in the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition. She has been soloist with orchestras nationally and internationally including the Orquesta Millenium of Guatemala and the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia and has performed recitals across the US and Japan.

She has been a guest artist with the Philadelphia and Boston Chamber Music Societies, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and is a founding member of Music from Copland House. She has performed regularly in festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 2005, she formed the Variation String Trio with violinist Jennifer Koh and violist Hsin-Yun Huang, a group that has performed across the US and Europe, and in 2012 formed a piano trio with pianist Lydia Artymiw and violinist Erin Keefe. She is founder and Artistic Director of Salt Bay Chamberfest, on the coast of Maine; a festival that has been home to performers and composers of international renown for over two decades.

As a soloist and recitalist as well as a collaborative musician and festival director, Mina has consistently advocated for composers with whom she has developed vital relationships. She has recently collaborated with Indigenous composer of Mohawk descent, Dawn Avery, on a recording of Ms. Avery’s solo cello and cello vocal works. In addition to her recent releases on Ondine (mentioned above), her other recordings include sonatas by Britten and Schnittke with pianist Thomas Sauer (Arabesque, 2006), and her recordings of chamber music including the complete chamber works of Aaron Copland (Arabesque), and works by Sebastian Currier (Koch), Osvaldo Golijov (Kleos), Pierre Jalbert (CHB), Jennifer Higdon (Naxos), Aaron Jay Kernis (Koch). Tamar Muskal, John Musto (Koch), Kaija Saariaho (Cedille), and Michael Torke (AMR).

Ms. Smith’s recent music video projects connecting music and environment include: Northern Landscapes in Music (2022); River Muse: Music and the Metaphor of the River
(2021-22) and Harmony on land and Sea: Finding Music in an Exalted Maine Landscape (2020)