Primary Instrument: Cello
Shirley Smart has had a varied and unusual career. After a studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she performed with the LSO and gave a concert of trios with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Barbican, and masterclass study in Paris with Janos Starker, in Switzerland, at the International Menuhin Academy, Gstaad and IMS Prussia Cove in Cornwall, she left the UK for Israel. Although she initially went for a year, Shirley became involved with a great many musical projects, and met many musicians and friends, and ended up staying for 10 years. She joined Moroccan jazz fusion group Sound of the Ground - the result of a chance meeting in a Jerusalem restaurant, which led to many other projects playing Arabic, Oriental and North African music with groups including Sabreen, Tarshika Orchestra, Khaled Jubran, Radio Effendi, al-Farabi Trio, Maurice El-Mediouni, and oud players Bilal Irshed, Haytham Safia and Nizar Rohana. She also studied jazz improvisation on cello and piano at the Jerusalem Centre Creative Music, run by saxophone player Arnie Lawrence, and subsequently joined his both band, and several other jazz fusion projects. She has toured most of Europe, Russia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco as well as playing all over Israel and Palestine ( and occasionally getting caught in the crossfire….) Shirley also studied musicology and English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a tutor of Cello for several years at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music in Ramallah. She acted on several occasions as a deputy teacher of Cello at the Tel Aviv Conservatory of Music, and now teaches Musicianship at the Royal College of Music Junior Department in London. She speaks Hebrew and Arabic, and keeps making doomed attempts to learn French. Now resident in London, Shirley continues to be active on the developing World Music scene. She has worked with, among others, Neil Cowley, Gilad Atzmon, Yasmin Levy, Attab Haddad, Julian Ferraretto, Al-Andaluz, Yazid Fentazi, Khyam Allami, Tamer Abu-Ghazaleh, Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos, the London Klezmer Quartet, Shekoyokh, Kosmos Ensemble, Orion Orchestra, Maurizio Minardi, and has her own North African fusion group Melange, and jazz string trio Spectrum. She has performed at venues including Ronnie Scotts, the 606 Jazz Club, the Vortex, the Spice of Life, the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, the Barbican, the National Theatre, The Forge, the Green Note, Proud Gallery, the Philharmonie in Berlin, Cultural Centre in Tel Aviv, as well as festivals around the UK, Europe and Middle East. Shirley also runs several events around London, including a regular monthly world music jam session at the Green Note in Camden, and is organising and promoting a new series of world and folk influenced jazz at Nolias11 in Southwark.