Gabriella Smith is a composer from the San Francisco Bay Area whose music has been described as “high-voltage and wildly imaginative” (Philadelphia Inquirer); “bold, original and suggests exciting new directions for American music” (Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero); and “You really get the Pacific Ocean, man!” (Cabrillo Festival audience member). Her compositions have been performed throughout the U.S. and internationally by ensembles including eighth blackbird, Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, PRISM Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, and ymusic, among others. During the 2016-17 season, Smith serves as the Nashville Symphony’s inaugural Composer Lab & Workshop Fellow. Other recent residencies include two months as an artist fellow at Instituto Sacatar on the island of Itaparica in Bahia, Brazil, and a Copland House Residency at Aaron Copland’s home in Cortlandt Manor, New York.
Smith is currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she has studied with Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Dan Trueman, Dmitri Tymoczko, Donnacha Dennehey, and Ju Ri Seo. She received her Bachelors of Music in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music. After graduating, she returned to the Curtis Institute for the 2015-16 season as an ArtistYear Fellow, dedicating a citizen-artist year of national service in the Philadelphia region.
Smith is a recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Leo Kaplan Award, three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, a winner of the American Modern Ensemble Ninth Annual Composition Competition (2015), the Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award (2012), and the First Place Prize in the 2009 Pacific Musical Society Composition Competition.
When not composing, Smith can be found backpacking (playing trail songs on her ukulele along the way), birding, playing capoeira, working on small-scale organic farms and environmental projects around the world, and recording underwater soundscapes with her hydrophone.
In 2014, Smith was chosen by her mentor, composer John Adams, to write a new work supported by the Pacific Harmony Foundation. She was in residence for the rehearsals and the successful world premiere of Tumblebird Contrails. In 2017, Smith has been commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival to compose a tribute work in celebration of Adams’ 70th birthday. Field Guide will have its world premiere on Saturday, August 12, 2017.