Shirley Smart and Ben Smith present a lunchtime programme interleaving improvisation, jazz standards and original compositions with works from the classical cello and piano duo repertoire, including music by Bach, Brahms, Boulanger and Popper.
Please note, this event is free to attend, but seats are limited, so please do sign up to attend, via the 'register now' button above.
Shirley Smart is recognised as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists – being equally at home and well versed in jazz and Middle Eastern music, as well as classical music.
Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guildhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, she subsequently moved to Jerusalem. She remained for 10 years. studying and performing a wide variety of musical traditions from the region, and working with artists including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital and Yasmin Levy. Since returning to the UK, she has quickly become established as a unique performer, and is in demand with artists such as Mulatu Astatke, Maya Youssef, Neil Cowley, and Robert Mitchell. She also leads her own projects and released her first trio album Long Story Short in 2018 to critical acclaim.
Shirley’s trio has appeared at numerous festivals in the UK and abroad and recent highlights include the Cheltenham Festival, EFG London Jazz Festival, Lichfield, Aberjazz, Birmingham and Scarborough Jazz Festivals, Vivacello Festival in Moscow and Biennale Festival in the Netherlands,
She is also a keen educator, and is currently Head of Performance at City University, and teaches Improvisation at the RCMJD. She has given workshops for Chethams School of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, National Youth Jazz Collective, Jazzlines, Trinity Laban and Manchester and Kent Universities.
Ben Smith is a London-based composer and performer specialising in contemporary music. He is interested in—amongst other things—phenomenological and semiotic approaches to musical analysis, and compositional encounters with silence and repetition. Ben is an alumnus of City, University of London, and was Junior Fellow at Guildhall School of Music & Drama from 2020-2022, where he previously studied with Laurence Crane, Rolf Hind, and James Weeks. His recording of Evan Johnson’s complete piano music was released on all that dust in November 2021.
Increasingly in demand as a soloist and ensemble musician, his versatility has led to recent appearances with the Maya Youssef Sextet, Explore Ensemble and others, at venues including the Barbican Centre, the Wigmore Hall and hcmf//.