Cellist Wilhelmina Smith made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra while a student at the Curtis Institute of Music. She was a prizewinner at the 1997 Leonard Rose International Cello Competition, has given recitals across the United States and Japan, and has appeared as a soloist with such groups as La Orquesta Millennium in Guatemala and the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia. Ms. Smith was awarded the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians by the MacPhail Center for Music for the 2015–16 season.
A strong supporter of new music, Ms. Smith has worked frequently with composers including Esa-Pekka Salonen, with whom she has collaborated to perform his cello concerto, Mania, and the North American premiere of his solo cello work, Knock, Breathe, Shine.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Smith has performed with Paul Tortelier, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Dawn Upshaw, and Benita Valente; and members of the Juilliard, Brentano, Miami, and Borromeo string quartets. She has performed as a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Boston Chamber Music Society, and is a founding member of Music from Copland House. In 2005, she formed the Variation String Trio with violinist Jennifer Koh and violist Hsin-Yun Huang.
Ms. Smith is the founder and artistic director of Salt Bay Chamberfest. Her recordings include the complete chamber works of Aaron Copland; works by Sebastian Currier, John Musto, and Aaron Jay Kernis; and a 2006 solo recording of sonatas by Britten and Schnittke with pianist Thomas Sauer. She performs frequently with pop musician Sting and can be heard on recent recordings for both Sting and Bruce Springsteen.