Mark Russell Smith, a 1987 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, is artistic director of orchestral studies at the University of Minnesota, music director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.Mr. Smith has conducted the Saint Louis and Houston symphonies, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 2007 and 2012 he returned to his alma mater to lead the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Verizon Hall, and he led Curtis On Tour in China and Korea in 2011. Other recent and upcoming appearances include the Colorado, Eugene, Hartford, Jacksonville, Phoenix, and Santa Barbara symphonies; the Tulsa Philharmonic; Orchestra London (Ontario); the Eastern Music Festival; and the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent, Belgium. Mr. Smith collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma on Bridge of Souls, a concert featuring world premieres by Asian and American composers.A firm believer in the use of technical innovation, he annually conducts the final round of the Minnesota International Piano e-Competition, streamed live online. Mr. Smith was previously music director of the Richmond, Cheyenne, and Springfield symphony orchestras. He studied cello at the Juilliard School with Claus Adam and conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolf and Otto- Werner Mueller.