Shirley Smart is recognised as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists – being equally at home and well versed in jazz and Middle Eastern music, as well as classical music.
Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guilldhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, she subsequently moved to Jerusalem. She remained for 10 years. studying and performing a wide variety of musical traditions from the region, and working with artists including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital and Yasmin Levy. Since returning to the UK, she has quickly become established as a unique performer, and is in demand with artists such as Mulato Astatke, Maya Youssef, Neil Cowley, and Robert Mitchell. She also leads her own projects, and released her first trio album @Long Story Short’ in 2018 to critical acclaim.
Current projects in which she is involved also include Issie Barratt’s Interchange Dectet, which has just recorded its debut album ‘Donna’s Secret’ for release in 2019, and Nikki Yeoh’s trio project Cafe Oran debuting at the Ronnie Scotts Internatinal Piano Trio Festival in 2019. A duo album with pianist Robert Mitchell is planned for 2020.
Shirley has appeared at numerous festivals in the UK and abroad and highlights for 2019 with Long Story Short include the Cheltenham Festival, EFG London Jazz Festival and Vivacello Festival in Moscow.
She is also a keen educator, and has given workshops for the National Youth Jazz Collective, Jazzlines, Trinity Laban and Kent University as well as teaching Jazz and Improvisation for the RCMJD and City University.