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Ashley William Smith

Winner, Other instruments category 2010

Ashley William Smith firmly believes in the power for music to positively affect individuals and humanity for the greater good. His performances have been critically reviewed as “incandescent… a masterly display of skill and insight.” The Age music critic Clive O’Connell has claimed “as an apologist for contemporary music-making, you would search hard to find this young clarinettist’s equal.”

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the University of Western Australia , where he studied with Allan Meyer. Since 2008 Ashley has studied with David Thomas at the Australian National Academy of Music and in 2010 is an Academy Fellow. Most recently, Ashley was awarded a full scholarship to attend Yale University where he shall study towards a Master of Music under the tutelage of internationally renowned clarinettist David Shifrin.

The Age music critic Clive O’Connell has claimed “as an apologist for contemporary music-making, you would search hard to find this young clarinettist’s equal.”

Ashley’s accolades for musical and academic excellence include the Vose Memorial Concerto Prize, the Lady Callaway Medal for the most oustanding performance graduate of UWA, the Edith Cowan Prize for the most oustanding music academic graduate of UWA and the Sir Harold Bailey Award as the most oustanding graduate of the UWA Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2008 Ashley was nominated for the J.A. Wood Prize as the dux of the University. In 2009 Ashley won both the equal-first jury prize and the audience prize at the ANAM Concerto Competition. Ashley has received generous support in the form of travelling fellowships from the Friends of the UWA School of Music and the Harold Mitchell Foundation.  In 2010 Ashley was the winner of the Other Instruments final of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.

Ashley’s principal area of interest is in contemporary music and experimenting with new approaches to music presentation. It is his ambition to establish a full-time touring new music ensemble whose focus is to bring new music to new audiences through the commissioning of new works and collaboration with other art forms. Ashley has a special interest in the music of Magnus Lindberg and is currently working on a project to perform the Finnish composer’s complete clarinet works in collaboration with ANAM. This project has included several Australian premieres and the Melbourne premiere of the Lindberg Clarinet Concerto with Brett Dean and the ANAM Orchestra. Ashley also has a special interest in Australian music and has had the privilege of being the second person to perform the Edwards’ Clarinet Concerto.