Home­com­ing for Marshunda Smith

Cel­list per­forms here for first time in 20 years

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6354.

Mar shu nd a Smith fell in love with clas­si­cal mu­sic as a stu­dent in Chat­tanooga. Her ex­pe­ri­ences here helped for­mu­late and in­form her pas­sion for per­form­ing and helped set her on a ca­reer path that would lead her to Bos­ton, where she teaches, per­forms and con­ducts.

For what­ever rea­son, Smith has not played here in two decades. But that will be rec­ti­fied on Sun­day, June 3, when she will be joined by Javier Márquez for a con­cert fea­tur­ing cello and pi­ano at St. Thad­daeus Epis­co­pal Church in the High­way 58 area.

A grad­u­ate of Chat­tanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, she is com­ing here for her 20-year class re­u­nion and saw an op­por­tu­nity to play in front of a home crowd. So she reached out to for­mer teacher Linda Pen­nebaker to ask if she could per­form at her church.

“I reached out to my teacher from Knoxville also. I’m not sure if he can make it, but some old friends are go­ing to come,” Smith said. “This will be a home­com­ing.”

The pro­gram fea­tures some lesser-known pieces that she says fall un­der the sub­head “A col­lec­tion of short flir­ta­tious works from 1847 to 2018.”

“I started to play all of them, and they all pretty much sounded the same. They are very flir­ta­tious in a way,” she says. “Javier and I were like, ‘Wow, this is re­ally sen­sual, re­ally sex­ual.’”

She said the pro­gram fea­tures six pieces: two for solo cello, the other four for cello and pi­ano. She said the two cre­ated the pro­gram, started play­ing “house shows” in early April and have done about a half-dozen. She said the shows are much more in­ti­mate, and that au­di­ence mem­bers have com­mented on how dif­fer­ent per­for­mances are be­cause of that close­ness.

“They say, ‘ Wow, I’ve never re­ally been this close to a cello and heard it that way.’”

Smith says she spends a few min­utes be­tween each song ask­ing the au­di­ence what they heard, how the piece made them feel or what it made them think of.

“It’ s very re­laxed, some­times with wine and cheese and crack­ers. I think I took my shoes off for the last one.”

In ad­di­tion to play­ing and teach­ing, Smith is the co-founder of the No-Name Orches­tra of Bos­ton, which gives mu­si­cians a chance to play a con­certo or solo work with a full orches­tra.

She is cur­rently the co-prin­ci­pal cel­list of the North Shore Phil­har­monic Orches­tra. Last year, she be­came the sec­ond fe­male in 20 years and the first African-Amer­i­can to con­duct the orches­tra in its 70-year his­tory.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO BY KIM I NDRESANO

Marshunda Smith

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