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Biography

Ursula Smith is an established chamber musician who has played at festivals such as Cheltenham,  Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Schleswig Holstein and Salzburg. She has worked with artists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Steven Isserlis, Heinz Holliger and Malcolm Martineau.

Ursula was a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University where she received a Masters Degree. Her teachers have  included Ralph Kirshbaum, Aldo Parisot and at Prussia Cove, György Kurtág and András Schiff. She is currently a Professor of Cello at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she is also Senior Tutor in Chamber Music.

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From 2006 to 2012 Ursula was a member of the Zehetmair String Quartet. The quartet performed and recorded for the most part from memory, one of a handful of quartets in the world to do this. With the quartet Ursula performed in many of the world's most prestigious venues including Philharmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. The Quartet’s 2007 ECM recording of Bartók 5th Quartet won the Chamber Music Diapason D’Or in France. One critic described this recording of the Bartók as the best in the last sixty years. Other chamber music recordings include the complete Beethoven Folk Songs for Piano Trio and Voice for Deutsche Grammophon with Malcom Martineau. At the invitation of Lukas Hagen, Ursula was a jury member of the International Mozart Competition for String Quartets in Salzburg in 2014 and was on the jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2019.

As a soloist Ursula has performed with conductors such as Andrew Litton, Jorma Panula and Mark Wigglesworth and gave the UK premiere of Nigel Osborne’s Cello Concerto. Ursula was Principal Cello of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 1993-2003 and has appeared as Guest Principal with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Her recording of the complete Britten Cello Suites and two new commissions from Sally Beamish and Jacob Anderskov will be released in January 2023 by Meridian Records. 

Ursula joined the Fitzwilliam Quartet in November 2023. 

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