Cellist Shirley Smart has had a varied and unusual career. After a brief period of study in London, where she performed with the LSO and gave a concert of trios with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Barbican, she left the UK for Jerusalem. Although she initially went for a year, Shirley became involved with a great many musical projects, and met many musicians and friends, and ended up staying for 10 years. She joined Moroccan jazz fusion group Sound of the Ground - the result of a chance meeting in a Jerusalem restaurant, which led to many other projects playing Arabic, Oriental and North African music with groups including Sabreen, Tarshika Orchestra, Khaled Jubran, Radio Effendi, al-Farabi Trio, Maurice El-Mediouni, and oud players Bilal Irshed, Haytham Safia and Nizar Rohana. She also studied jazz improvisation on cello and piano at the Jerusalem Centre Creative Music, run by saxophone player Arnie Lawrence, and subsequently joined his both band, and several other jazz fusion projects. She has toured most of Europe, Russia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, including performances at the Jerash Festival, Jordan and International Oud festival in Tetouan, Morocco as well as playing all over Israel and Palestine ( and occasionally getting caught in the crossfire….).
Shirley also studied musicology and English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a tutor of Cello for several years at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music in Ramallah. She acted on several occasions as a deputy teacher of Cello at the Tel Aviv Conservatory of Music, and now teaches Musicianship at the Royal College of Music Junior Department in London. She speaks Hebrew and Arabic, and keeps making doomed attempts to learn French.
Now resident in London, Shirley continues to be active on the jazz and world music scenes, and performs regularly with many of the UK's leading musicians.