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Concerts with the participation of British musicians will be part of the Year of Music of Great Britain and Russia 2019 program, which is held by the Department of Culture and Education of the British Embassy in Moscow





ESSE club

Shirley Smart, cello (UK)

and her trio


Shirley Smart (1973, Leicester) is ranked to be the most versatile and creative cellists in the UK. She combines her academic background and deep knowledge of jazz and musical traditions of the Middle East in works.

Initially, she studied under the guidance of Professor Raphael Wallfisch at the Guildhall Graduate School of Music and Drama in London, took lessons from Janos Starker in Paris, and consulted with Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum. Then she moved to Jerusalem, where for 10 years she studied and mastered musical traditions of North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East, gave concerts and taught.


In Israel, Shirley performed in jazz projects (in particular, as part of the Moroccan group Sound of the Ground), collaborated with famous artists, including double bass player Avishai Cohen, composer and bass player Omer Avital, singer, performer of Sephardic songs Yasmin Levy and others. This experience was reflected in the debut of the Shirley’s Long Story Short  album on 33 Records (2019). The recordings were attended by musicians of the Shirley Smart trio – pianist John Crawford (one of the most progressive in the UK, sharing her interest in Latin and ethnics), drummer and percussionist, flamenco expert Demi Garcia Sabat, as well as guest artists.

After returning to the UK in 1999, Shirley Smart quickly gained fame as an original and creative cellist, worked with many leading jazz bands and world music artists, including Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione, Ethiopian vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke, Australian violinist and composer Julian Ferraretto, well-known British jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, composer and pianist Neil Cowley, singer, violinist and composer Alice Zawadzki, pianist Oberth Mitchell.

Shirley Smart teaches improvisation and jazz at the London's Royal College of Music and City University of London, and is also a visiting scholar at the National Youth Jazz Collective.

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