Cecilia Smith is a professional composer, recording artist and performing vibraphonist. Smith is one of the leading four mallet technique vibraphonists in the United States. She is the first woman vibraphonist with recordings released both nationally and internationally, and has performed in concert halls, nightclubs and festivals throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Smith attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston earning a bachelor’s degree in Professional Music. In 2003, Smith was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to bring to life the music of Mary Lou Williams, widely credited as the first woman of jazz. Smith performed in concert original compositions inspired by Williams’ life, as well as music that Williams wrote but never performed.
The Joyce Award supported The Performing Arts Division at Cuyahoga Community College to engage in a multi-year collaborative with Smith. As part of Tri-C’s Creative Campus Project, Smith has a long-term residency in Cleveland where she, along with Tri-C students and faculty, work to identify an African American from the Cleveland community as the subject and inspiration for a new composition.
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) opened in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college. It now serves more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students annually and offers more than 70 career and technical programs and liberal arts curricula at its three campuses. The Performing Arts Division at Tri-C has a long history of presenting the arts in a wide variety of disciplines and to a broad and diverse audience. Since 1980, it has presented the Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, which reaches 30,000 to 50,000 people annually each April. The ten-day event features performances, jazz workshops, clinics, and educational programs on campus, and at various venues throughout the Cleveland area.