Yvonne Smith
Based in Houston, violist Yvonne Smith joined the ABS Academy in 2016 and 2017, and by May 2018 she joined the ABS roster to perform and record Bach’s Orchestral Suites. The following year, Yvonne returned for a program of Bach’s most legendary “Favorite Cantatas,” and also played at last year’s ABS Summer Festival. 

In 2016, Yvonne founded La Speranza, an ensemble that explores and illuminates the connection between music and wellness through their historically informed performances of wind and string chamber music in Houston communities.

She performs frequently with Bach Society Houston, La Follia Austin Baroque, and Ars Lyrica Houston. Yvonne also appears regularly in the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet, and Grant Park Orchestra (Chicago).

Yvonne earned her Master and Bachelor of Music degrees in Viola Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under the tutelage of Joan DerHovsepian and James Dunham. She recently attended the inaugural 2020 Smithsonian Haydn Academy. 

Thank you, Yvonne, for saying hello to us! We can’t wait to perform together again.
Q: Would you tell us something about your pre-ABS life that most of us don’t know?

My family lived in San Francisco for a year when I was seven. We came from Ames, Iowa, so that was a big change for me. I experienced my first (small) earthquake and visited the Pacific Ocean for the first time that year before we moved to upstate New York. 

Q: How have you coped with sheltering-in-place?

During all of this unprecedented time at home, I have tried to strike a healthy balance between work and relaxation. These days, between personal practice, teaching online private lessons, and recording and  administrative duties for my chamber music group, La Speranza, as well as other projects, I find myself working 3-8 hours a day Monday through Friday. During my non-working hours, I keep in touch with my friends and family virtually or via socially distant visits and I try to get outside for a walk regularly (even though the heat index is over 110 these days!). I’ve also enjoyed really delving into my hobby of writing stories, and I’m currently catching up on my favorite shows, which include NCIS and both of its incredible spinoffs that are based in New Orleans and Los Angeles. Social isolation has presented its challenges, even for this introvert, and I have been grateful for the presence of my two guinea pigs, Trick and Treat. Their hilarious antics and (sometimes reluctant) cuddles are always appreciated. 
Yvonne performing with La Speranza

Since January 2018, La Speranza has brought live music on period instruments to Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center through a new program called Sonorous Sojourns. The program started out with Yvonne visiting patients’ rooms and/or lobby areas once a month for informal performances and a short time of visiting. Leading up to the pandemic, Joanna, Fran, and Yvonne visited once a month and played string trios by the surgical waiting room area for patients, staff, and families. They look forward to returning to play when it is safe to do so.
Yvonne's guinea pigs, Trick & Treat
Q: So many musical performances have been canceled recently, but have you been able to take on any new musical projects? Have you delved into repertory that you hadn’t had time to work on before? 

In addition to planning and recording for La Speranza’s online season, I’ve enjoyed working on a collaboration performing on Classical instruments with Les Délices for an upcoming episode of their biweekly broadcast SalonEra. 
On my own, I’ve been able to study the 12 fantasias for solo violin and 12 fantasias for solo viola da gamba (both transcribed for viola) by Georg Philipp Telemann in depth over the past few months. Each of them is wildly unique, and I’ve enjoyed the extra time to learn their different quirks. 
Q: Our audiences love you and your performances. And we’re so happy that you love to be with us at ABS. Are there any standout reasons why you look forward to your future projects with ABS?

Playing with ABS is a particularly wonderful experience for me because of the brilliant combination of fantastic music and friendly, incredibly skilled colleagues. Every time I travel to the Bay Area for ABS, I truly feel as though I am both a respected member of a team and a beloved member of a family. The exquisite beauty we uncover and present in each piece of music brings a smile to my heart for many months following each concert program. 
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

Spirituoso from Fantasia no. 6 in G Major, TWV 40:31
Read more about Yvonne

Read more about La Speranza
Save the Date!
Saturday September 12 at 5 pm

ABS's first Live Stream Event
hosted by

Don Scott Carpenter
Jeffrey Thomas

featuring musical performances by

Hadleigh Adams, baritone
Cynthia Black, viola
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Mischa Bouvier, baritone
Hélène Brunet, soprano
Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin
Tekla Cunningham, violin
Tomà Iliev, violin
Corey Jamason, harpsichord
Steven Lehning, viola da gamba
Ramón Negrón Pérez, viola
William Skeen, violoncello
Mary Wilson, soprano
Jude Ziliak, violin
and guest appearances by

Jesse Blumberg

Elizabeth Blumenstock
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
Sarah Coit
Stephen Hammer
Gail Hernández Rosa
Katherine Kyme
Sandra Miller
Debra Nagy

Nola Richardson

William Sharp

Aaron Sheehan
Yvonne Smith

Shawnette Sulker
John Thiessen
Clio Tilton
Daniel Turkos

Bethanne Walker
David Wilson
Be well and stay well!
from all of us at ABS
We Thank our Sponsors

The American Bach Soloists are grateful for the support of Individual Sponsors and these and other Foundations, Corporations, and Government Agencies: