Brinton Averil Smith

Associate Professor of Cello
M.M. (1992), D.M.A. (1998) The Juilliard School

2801 Alice Pratt Brown Hall

Brinton Averil Smith

Hailed by New York Newsday for “extraordinary musicianship,” American cellist Brinton Averil Smith continues to win rave reviews throughout the United States and around the world. Smith’s debut recording of Miklos Rozsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra received widespread international critical acclaim, with the Gramophone Awards Issue praising Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” while his recording of chamber music of Fauré with violinist Gil Shaham on his Fauré Album was chosen by numerous critics as one of the best albums of the year. The American Record Guide hailed their performance as “Stunningly beautiful”, continuing“I cannot imagine a better stylistic match for Shaham”.

Mr. Smith has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Houston Symphony since joining the orchestra as principal cellist in 2005. Prior to this, he was the first musician chosen by Lorin Maazel to join the New York Philharmonic and the principal cellist of the San Diego and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. As a chamber musician, Smith has collaborated with violinist Gil Shaham on numerous occasions including Carnegie Hall's Gil Shaham and Friends series and also with cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell, violinists Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes and Sarah Chang, soprano Dawn Upshaw and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Brevard Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival and is an artistic director of the Restoration Chamber Music festival in Galveston.

Admitted to Arizona State University part-time at age 10, Smith took courses in mathematics and German and, by age 17, completed a B.A. in mathematics. While a student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, he 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. An active teacher, Mr Smith has been a faculty member of the Shepherd School of Music since 2006, and of the Aspen and Sarasota music festivals. He regularly gives masterclasses throughout the United States and his students have won positions in many major orchestras including the Atlanta, Toronto, North Carolina, Houston and Charlotte symphonies. For further information and audio or video links, please visit