CAELI SMITH is an artist with an eye towards the future. From an early age, she has sought to breach the frontiers of classical music by incorporating a variety of styles, including jazz and tango, into the traditional repertoire. She seeks unusual performance venues and is committed to bringing classical music to all audiences. She is the Associate director and violist of Frisson, a nine-piece chamber ensemble featuring NYC’s finest young classical musicians.
At age ten, Caeli made her debut as an orchestra soloist with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, and has since soloed with numerous orchestras, including the Juilliard Orchestra, the Bach Festival Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, Bucks County Symphony, Ambler Symphony, Old York Road Symphony, and numerous others.
A frequent recitalist, Caeli has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) showcase, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and many others. As a soloist and principal of the Juilliard Orchestra, she has performed in major venues throughout New York, including Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, and in London’s Royal Albert Hall, and under the baton of artists such as John Adams, James DePreist, James Gaffigan, Alan Gilbert, Jeffrey Kahane, Fabio Luisi, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gary Thor Wedow, and others.
As a journalist, Caeli has written for radio, TV, and print, and her articles have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as Strings and Teen Strings, and Symphony magazines. Caeli was featured on From The Top, a national radio program dedicated to the discovery of young musicians. She served for three years as a traveling cast member in the role of “Roving Reporter”, conducting interviews and skits with pre-college classical musicians. She also wrote for The Roving Report, an online blog for From The Top’s website. For two summers, she was was the staff intern for Violinist.com. Her YouTube channel has received over five million hits and has more than four thousand subscribers. In 2009, Caeli was invited by Google/YouTube to serve as an official Vlogger for the inaugural YouTube Symphony Orchestra congress in Carnegie Hall. Caeli also starred as a young street performer, along with Time For Three, in Robert Downey Sr.’s documentary Rittenhouse Square.
While still in middle school, she performed twice as a soloist, and in several chamber ensembles on From The Top, and in high school she appeared twice on its PBS TV series. She has collaborated with a wide range of musicians in recital and chamber music settings, including pianists André Watts, Christopher O’Riley, and Tim Ribchester; soprano Julianne Baird; violist Ellen dePasquale; and didgeridoo artist Howard E. Smith.
A native of Philadelphia, Caeli began her music studies at the age of three. Her teachers have included Catherine Cho, Ronald Copes, Joey Corpus, Lee Snyder, and Harumi Rhodes, among others. She has appeared at many summer festivals including the Verbier Festival, The Perlman Music Program, Norfolk Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota Music Festival, ENCORE School for Strings, Aspen Music Festival and School, Music Academy of the West, Heifetz International Music Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and others.
As a Masters student at Juilliard, Caeli received the William Schuman Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. She has won prizes at the Hugo Kauder Society Competition and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Competition. Other awards include a full-tuition scholarship to The Juilliard School; the AMCP Chamber Music Network Certificate of Recognition for Chamber Music, and a Merit award from the NFAA YoungArts Competition. In the past, Caeli has been a finalist for the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition; a finalist and Honorable Mention in the Davidson Foundation Competition; and a quarter-finalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. For six years she was a recipient of the Advanced Study Scholarship at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia.
Caeli is passionate about bringing music into the community. While at Juilliard, she performed outreach concerts regularly throughout the New York metropolitan area as part of her Gluck Community Service Fellowship at Juilliard. As a Morse Teaching Fellow, she brought music to the classrooms of New York public schools. As a Music Advancement Program fellow, Caeli coached gifted children from the community in a Juilliard-based Saturday music program; as a recipient of the Educational Outreach Fellowship (formerly the Goldman Fellowship) she taught in an afterschool program in the Bronx and in classrooms in Chelsea. As a founding member of Rayos de Canción, Caeli traveled and taught with fellow Juilliard performers in Antigua, Guatemala for several summers.
In the 2016-17 season, Caeli is a New York Philharmonic Teaching Artist, working with New York City school children, and performing throughout the area. She is also a faculty artist at the Danbury (CT) Music Center’s summer Chamber Music Intensive.
Caeli holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance and a Master of Music in viola performance from Juilliard, where she studied with Misha Amory, Catherine Cho, Ronald Copes, and Hsin-Yun Huang.