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Introducing Yvonne Smith

Yvonne Smith

Where are you from?

I was born in Ames, Iowa, and I have lived in California, New York, Arizona, Maryland, and Texas (in that order!).

Are you a current Rice student? If not, what is your association with Rice?

I am a first-year master’s student, but I also went to Rice for my undergrad.

Why did you choose to play viola?

I chose to play viola because I was (and still am) enthralled by its sound. It fits my personality very well.

What or whom are your most important musical influences?

My parents (my dad as a conductor and my mom as a piano teacher); my viola teacher in high school, Alice Young; and Mr. Dunham.

Ideally where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

I would love to be playing in an opera orchestra. I enjoy the telling of a story to an audience in such a large-scale way, and I think it’s wonderful to be a part of such an intimate “family” in the orchestra pit. I would also like to start my own chamber music series someday.

What do you like about Rice and the Shepherd School of Music?

I love the high standard that is set for us, both musically and personally. We are all pushed to be great musicians and great people to work with, which is extremely valuable in today’s world.

What was one of your best musical experiences?

Getting to play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in the Chamber Orchestra here at Rice is definitely a highlight that stands out. The energy on stage was something I’ll never forget.

If you didn’t play the viola, what instrument would you play?

I would play the horn!


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