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Ursula Smith

College positions:
Fellow Commoner
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London
Contact details:

Professor Ursula Smith

Ursula Smith is a member of the Fitzwilliam Quartet and has taught at Guildhall since 2011. 

She is an established international chamber musician who has played at events including the Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Schleswig-Holstein and Salzburg festivals, and has collaborated with musicians including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Steven Isserlis, Heinz Holliger, Marieke Blankestijn and Malcolm Martineau. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University where she gained a Masters Degree and her teachers have included Ralph Kirshbaum and Aldo Parisot, and at Prussia Cove, György Kurtág and András Schiff. She is currently a Professor of Cello at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she is also Senior Tutor in Chamber Music. She was a member of the Zehetmair Quartet from 2006 to 2012 and played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Berlin Philharmonie, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. The Quartet’s recording of Bartók’s Fifth Quartet won the chamber music Diapason d’Or of the year in 2007. Other chamber music discs include the complete Beethoven folk songs for piano trio and voice with pianist Malcolm Martineau for Deutsche Grammophon. At the invitation of Lukas Hagen, she was a jury member of the International Mozart Competition for String Quartets in Salzburg in 2014 and was on the jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2019. As a soloist, she has performed with conductors including Andrew Litton, Jorma Panula and Mark Wigglesworth, and she gave the UK premiere of Nigel Osborne’s Cello Concerto. She was Principal Cello of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a decade from 1993 and has guest led the cello sections of the Academy of St -Martin’s-in -the- Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Her CD of Britten’s complete Cello Suites and two new commissions from Sally Beamish and Jacob Anderskov will be released August 2024.

Select publications

Cd’s /Recordings:

  • Deutsche Grammophon Beethoven Complete Folk Songs for Piano Trio and Voice- with Malcom Martineau, Dame Felicity Lott, Marieke Blankestijn
  • ECM Zehetmair Quartet Hindemith and Bartok 5th Quartet
  • Beethoven Opus 135, Bruckner and Heinz Holliger Quartet no. 2

Select Awards

  • Fulbright Scholar, Yale University
  • Diapason D’Or Chamber Music Recording of the Year, 2007

Further links