Brinton Smith, cello


'leaps straight to the top of the pile … a disc to savour'

BBC Music Magazine

Hailed by New York Newsday for “…extraordinary musicianship...forceful, sophisticated and entirely in the spirit of the music,” American cellist Brinton Averil Smith has performed at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and in recital throughout the United States. Mr. Smith’s recent performances include appearances with orchestras in Detroit, San Diego, New Jersey, Houston, Las Vegas, San Jose, Fort Worth, Tucson, Eugene, Flagstaff, Phoenix and Auckland, New Zealand 

Mr. Smith recorded the Miklos Rozsa Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for a Koch International Classics release that received widespread international critical acclaim. The annual Gramophone Awards Issue praised Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and continued, “The sheer bravura of Smith’s reading is infectious.” His recording of Fauré’s Piano Trio and Après un Rêve with Gil Shaham for Canary Classics was chosen as one of Gramophone magazine’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ and was selected as one of BBC Music magazine’s best albums of the year. 

Mr. Smith was recently appointed the principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. Prior to this, he was a member of the New York Philharmonic, where he was the first musician appointed by music director Lorin Maazel, and was also previously the principal cellist of the San Diego and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Smith is a member of the faculty at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and has also served as a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University.

An active chamber musician, Smith has collaborated with members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets, as well as performances with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic Chamber Series, the Aspen Music Festival Winter recital series and the Linton series in Cincinnati. Mr. Smith was a prize winner of the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and was honored in several consecutive Juilliard and Aspen Music Festival concerto competitions. While at Juilliard, he received the Melini Award for excellence in performance and was invited to perform at the American Cello Congress. His performances have been broadcast on CBS Sunday Morning and on radio throughout the U.S. and in New Zealand, South Africa, and Germany. 

Brinton Averil Smith began his musical studies at age five. At age 10 he was admitted to Arizona State University, where he took courses in mathematics and German and, by age 17, completed a B.A. in mathematics. While a scholarship student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, he was also a teaching assistant in the mathematics department, and completed work for an M.A. in mathematics at age 19. He subsequently relocated to New York to study with cellist Zara Nelsova at The Juilliard School, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, writing on the playing of Emanuel Feuermann.