Wilhelmina Smith, cello
Founder, Artistic & Executive Director
Cellist Wilhelmina Smith has been awarded a 2015–2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians administered by MacPhail Center for Music. 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 gone on to solo with orchestras including the Orquesta Millenium of Guatemala and the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia and has performed recitals across the US and Japan. A strong supporter of new music, she has worked frequently with composers such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, with whom she collaborated to perform his cello concerto, Mania, and gave the American premiere of his solo cello work, knock, breathe, shine. Her recording of solo cello works by Salonen and Kaija Saariaho was released in 2019 by Ondine to rave reviews by Gramophone, BBC, and The Strad, calling her “a consummate communicator of the new virtuosity.”
As a chamber musician, Ms. Smith has performed with Paul Tortelier, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Dawn Upshaw, and Benita Valente; and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Brentano, Miami, Borromeo, and Galimir string quartets in venues across the US and Europe. She has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Boston Chamber Music Society, and is a founding member of Music from Copland House. 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. She is Founder, Artistic, and Executive Director of Salt Bay Chamberfest.
Ms. Smith’s solo CD of sonatas by Britten and Schnittke with pianist Thomas Sauer was released on the Arabesque label in 2006. Her recordings of chamber music include the complete chamber works of Aaron Copland, works by Sebastian Currier, John Musto, and Aaron Jay Kernis. She has performed frequently with pop musician Sting and can be heard on recent recordings for both Sting and Bruce Springsteen. She currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband Mark Mandarano and children August and Giovanna.