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Artistic Director

Artistic Director: Wilma Smith

Wilma Smith is Musica Viva’s Artistic Director of Competitions, Second Violinist of the Flinders Quartet, curator/violinist/violist of Wilma & Friends, Guest Concertmaster of orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand, a regular player with the Australian World Orchestra and a committed teacher.

Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Wilma studied in the US with the legendary Dorothy DeLay. She was founding first violinist of the Lydian Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award and prizes at Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International String Quartet Competitions. She worked regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Invited by Chamber Music New Zealand to return home to establish the New Zealand String Quartet, Wilma was first violinist until her appointment as concertmaster of the NZSO and then the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Since retiring from the MSO, Wilma has prioritised her chamber music roots, enjoying old and new collaborations in the US and New Zealand as well as Australia. With her old friend, Victoria Jones, she is Co-Artistic Director of the annual Martinborough Music Festival.

Wilma plays a 1761 Guadagnini violin and occasionally a fine Chinese viola.


Listen to Paul Kildea and Wilma Smith discuss Wilma’s musical journey from New Zealand to the United States, her subsequent studies with the legendary Dorothy DeLay, and the founding of the New Zealand String Quartet.

Wilma shares the fascinating and fortunate story of how her 1761 Guadagnini violin came into her life, and reflects upon the importance of chamber playing in a musician’s career, and the extraordinary talent uncovered by Musica Viva’s latest venture, Strike A Chord.