Susan K. Smith
Hometown: Clearwater, Florida
Member of the Nashville Symphony since: 1994
What inspired you to become a musician, and what drew you to the trombone?
I started when I was 10 years old, and I didn’t choose trombone — the band director chose it for me because my teeth were straight and I scored high on a pitch test. I took right to it.
Which composers write the best music for the trombone?
Mahler. As far as voicing chords, it would be Brahms.
What’s been the highlight of your time performing with the Nashville Symphony?
The concert at the opening of the Schermerhorn, especially during the end of Mahler’s Second Symphony.
What’s it like to work at the Nashville Symphony?
I’ve always said I don’t work for a living, I play for a living.
Do you teach?
I teach at Austin Peay State University; it’s my hobby. I really enjoy helping young people fulfill their dreams in music. I’ve been teaching at APSU for 21 years, the same amount of time I’ve been here at the Nashville Symphony. I have one student who’s now Principal Trombone in the President’s Own Marine Band. If students have the talent, get the right information and work hard, they can really fulfill their potential.
Who’s influenced you as a musician?
Both listening to the Chicago Symphony and studying with the Chicago Symphony low brass section.
Does your work as a musician influence or inspire any other aspects of your life?
Anyone who’s worked as a musician learns tremendous self-discipline.
What would you most like people know about the Nashville Symphony?
There are so many people who don’t know about the Nashville Symphony. My hope is that new people will come and enjoy the sheer beauty of hearing live orchestral music in this world-class concert hall.