“The music sounded sharp, distinct, and vibrant.”
“Presenting the sultry theme in ever-changing sound qualities requires the right amount of intuition. She was successful, and the joy of the music shaped her conducting.”
- Der Südkurier
In 2019, she will serve as the creator, project curator, and conductor of SoundWebs, a series of concerts throughout Cincinnati which invite audiences to listen deeply to music, environmental sounds, and the ways they intersect. The series is supported by an individual project grant from People’s Liberty.
As Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, she gives popular pre-concert talks and recently stepped in for Music Director Markand Thakar to conduct Bernstein's Serenade after Plato's "Symposium" on a BCO subscription concert.
She also created The Listening Lab, an orchestral concert series that teaches audiences listening skills based in research in music cognition. With the BCO, she brings this program to students throughout the Baltimore through a series of in-school residencies. Described as "interesting and ingenious," that program received full funding from the Peabody Conservatory Dean's Office and was later selected for the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab.
Drawn to bold musical visions, Rebecca worked with composer Pauline Oliveros and artist Anthony Martin to reconstruct their Light Piece for David Tudor and performed the work for the first time since its premiere in 1965. She then founded Ensemble 4-33, an ensemble dedicated to experimental and avant-garde works from mid-century to present-day. In 2019, she will perform and conduct a concert of Yoko Ono’s performance works with Ensemble 4-33, including Sky Piece to Jesus Christ and Grapefruit in the World of Park.
Ms. Smithorn has recently been selected as a finalist for fellowships with the New World Symphony, the Chautauqua Institute, and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and she was nominated for the Conductor's Guild Thelma A. Robinson Award for promising young conductors.
She was the founder and conductor of Ad Hoc in Rochester, NY, an award-winning chamber orchestra which was nominated as a "Maverick Classical Music Ensemble" on ArtsJournal's Sandow. As a pianist, Ms. Smithorn has given solo, chamber, and lecture performances at the Steinway Recital Hall of St. Louis, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Diastole Scholars Center, the Brevard Music Festival, and the Eastman School of Music, among others.
A first-generation college graduate, Rebecca is passionate about making education accessible to all students. She currently teaches at the Peaslee Neighborhood Center, which provides low-cost lessons for students in underserved communities. She has served as a teaching artist in musicianship with MyCincinnati and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids, two El-Sistema-inspired music education programs.
Ms. Smithorn completed graduate studies in orchestral conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Mark Gibson, and the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Marin Alsop and Markand Thakar.