Wilma Smith was appointed Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competitions in 2016.
Former Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for twelve years and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for nine years, Wilma Smith now focuses on chamber music and teaching while still enjoying guest-leading opportunities with the Australian and New Zealand orchestras. She is also a member of the Australian World Orchestra, working with distinguished conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle and Zubin Mehta.
Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Wilma studied in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the legendary Dorothy DeLay and Louis Krasner, playing in masterclasses for many others including Joseph Gingold, Yehudi Menuhin and Sandor Vegh. She was founding first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, prizewinners at Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International Competitions and winners of the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music. She played regularly for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and led the Harvard Chamber Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Banchetto Musicale, a period instrument baroque orchestra.
After nine years in Boston, Wilma was invited to return to New Zealand to form the New Zealand String Quartet and led the quartet for five years on tours throughout New Zealand and Australia and at the Tanglewood Festival before her appointment to the position of Concertmaster of the NZSO. When she left New Zealand to take up the same position with the MSO, the NZSO honoured her with the title of Concertmaster Emeritus. In Melbourne, she has established her own chamber music series, Wilma & Friends, based at Scotch College, and performs a great variety of chamber music throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Wilma has taught violin and chamber music at Brandeis University (Boston) and Victoria University (Wellington), and currently teaches at The University of Melbourne and Monash University. She is also involved in the chamber music programs at Korowa Anglican Girls’ School and Scotch College.