Ashley Smith

Mr, BMus W.Aust., MMus Yale

  • The University of Western Australia (M413), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Described as ‘Incandescent... a masterly display of skill and insight... as an apologist for contemporary music-making, you would search hard to find this young clarinettist's equal’ (The Age), clarinettist Ashley William Smith has emerged as one of Australia’s most internationally demanded young musicians. The current Churchill Fellow, Ashley is a laureate of two of Australia’s most prestigious prizes for classical musicians, the 2012 Music Council of Australia Freedman Fellowship and the ABC Symphony International Young Performer Award (other instrument category). Identified as a ‘rising star’ by the world's leading clarinet manufacturer, Buffet-Crampon, Ashley is Buffet-Crampon Artist.

Internationally, Ashley has performed throughout the USA and Asia including performances with Bang on a Can, the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the Beijing Modern Music Festival. In 2014 Ashley's international engagements include performances in the USA with Chamber Music Northwest as well as appearing in recital throughout Europe.

Domestically, Ashley has performed as a soloist with several of Australia's major orchestras. His Melbourne premiere of the Magnus Lindberg Concerto was ranked amongst The Age's Top 5 Classical Performances 2010. In 2014 he shall appear as a soloist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in a new concerto by Lachlan Skipworth. As a chamber musician, Ashley performs regularly with several of Australia's major ensembles including the Australian String Quartet, the Syzygy Ensemble and the Argonaut Ensemble. In 2013 he and his principal duo partner, Australian pianist Aura Go, were commended again by The Age for their Melbourne Recital Centre Spotlight recital which marked the launch recital of their duo, Australia Felix. For this recital, the duo also received the Melbourne Recital Centres prestigious Contemporary Masters Award for the most outstanding performance of a post-1945 work during the 2013 season.

In 2014 Ashley is Artist in Residence at the University of Western Australia where he was also recently appointed an Assistant Professor position as the Head of Winds and Contemporary Performance.

Ashley is a Fellow of the Australian National Academy of Music and a graduate of the University of Western Australia where he was awarded the Sir Harold Bailey as the most outstanding graduate of the Faculty Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and was nominated for the J.A. Wood Prize, the institution's most presitgous honour. He most recently graduated from Master of Music at Yale University under the tutelage of David Shifrin, where he was additionally awarded the Thomas Nyfenger Prize.

Roles and responsibilities

Head of Winds and Contemporary Performance Programs

Artist in Residence

Performance Coaching

Lecturer in Music Aesthetics and Criticism and Popular Music in World Cultures

Future research

Luciano Berio's Sequenzas: Analysis and Aesthetics

Funding overview

Yale University: Stephen and Denise Adams Scholarship and Fellowship (2012-13)

Australia Council for the Arts: Skills and Artist Development Grant (2012-13)

Government of Western Australia, Department of Culture and the Arts: Artflight Grant (2012)

Opus 50 Trust Grant (2012)

Yale University: Stephen and Denise Adams Scholarship and Fellowship (2011-12)

Australian National Academy of Music / Harold Mitchell Foundation: ANAM Travelling Scholarship for a young musician most likely to pursue an international performing career (2010)

Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant (2010)

University of Western Australia: Friends of Music Travelling Fellowship

Australian National Academy of Music / Harold Mitchell Foundation Travelling Fellowship

New and Noteworthy

Recent Press Quotes

• But the evening's eye-opener came in the second half with Ashley Smith's incandescent performance of Magnus Lindberg's 2002 Clarinet Concerto. Smith revelled in the score's intricacies and hefty demands, from high piccolo notes to soft middle-register trills and an improbable bass register, alternately stretching the instrument's compass and capabilities and flooding the hall with a splendid lyricism.

As an apologist for contemporary music-making, let alone this concerto, you would search hard to find this young clarinettist's equal... a masterly display of skill and insight.
Read more:

• For once, a talented performer fully identified with the music he was playing; it is impossible to imagine a more committed, sympathetic interpretation.
Read more: assurance-of-ehnes-violin-a-winner

• Some Remarkable Moments in Music
Read the article: remarkable-moments-in-music-20131222-2zstn.html

• New Duo Shine in Stirring Recital
Read the article: in-stirring-recital-20130808-2rkea.html

Current projects

A detailed account of current performances and projects can be found at

Major Performance Projects 2014 include:
October 1 2014: Concerto World Premiere: Lachlan Skipworth (composer), West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Baldur Brönnimann(conductor)

September 2014: Bendigo International Festival of Contemporary Music - Artist Residency

July 2014: Chamber Music Northwest (USA) - Artist Residency

2014 University of Western Australia Artist Residency

Teaching overview

Yale Univeristy: Undergraduate and Secondary Instrument Clarinet Instructor.


Clarinet and bass clarinet solo and chamber music performance. Specialist in the performance of works by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms. Specialist in post-1980 repertoire, particularly of Australian, Italian, Finnish and German composers.
Contemporary Performance Practice
Historical Performance Practice
Music Aesthetics


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