Born and raised in rural Alabama, pianist Cahill Smith began playing at age 10. Six years later, he made his orchestral debut with a local orchestra. This year, while completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, the 2013-14 season brought two recitals in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (New York), as well as recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall (Boston), Rice University (Houston), and a lecture-recital at Yale University (New Haven). This spring, Cahill accepted an invitation to join the piano faculty at Lee University.
Cahill has since been featured as a concerto soloist with the National Ukranian Symphony Orchestra in Kiev, the Eastman Philharmonia, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, the Shoals Symphony Orchestra, and others. His solo performances have taken him to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Royal Dublin Society’s Concert Hall, Kodak Hall, Kilbourn Hall, and Hatch Halls at the Eastman School of Music, the Aspen Music Festival’s Harris Hall, Stamps Auditorium and the Britton Recital Hall in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, and Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Center. He has been featured frequently in public master classes with renowned pianists that include Joseph Kalichstein, William Wolfram, Jerome Lowenthal, Julian Martin, Ann Schein, and Claude Frank.
Cahill’s programming of works by little-known Russian composer, Nikolai Medtner, has attracted the attention of audiences and critics: “The unexpected gems of the afternoon were two of Nikolai Medtner’s Vergessene Weisen (‘Forgotten Melodies’), played by Cahill Smith. I was not familiar with these works, but in Mr. Smith’s hands they were absolutely endearing.” –East Hampton Star. Cahill’s repertoire now includes over twenty compositions by the composer. This year, Cahill made his Carnegie Hall debut with an all-Medtner program in Weill Recital Hall, and gave a lecture-recital on the composer at Yale University.
A versatile performer, Cahill is the recipient of several prizes and scholarships for trumpet. He is also pursuing a project to compose period-authentic cadenzas and eingänge for Mozart’s Piano Concertos, some of which he has premiered in concert with professional orchestras. He has also been featured in educational outreach concerts with the Montgomery Symphony and Alabama Symphony Orchestras, performing for over 60,000 elementary and high-school students. In theater, he has been cast as a contracted actor in productions at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the sixth-largest Shakespeare festival in the world, with over 300,000 annual visitors.
Cahill is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, where he has served as the teaching assistant to his teacher, Natalya Antonova. He was inducted into the honor society Pi Kappa Lambda for his academic achievements and contributions to the musical community at Eastman. Cahill has held three graduate teaching assistantships at Eastman, and was awarded the 2011-2012 Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Cahill completed his Master’s degree at the University of Michigan with Arthur Greene, and his Bachelor’s at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he studied with concert pianist and Van Cliburn-laureate Yakov Kasman. Other influential teachers include Ann Schein, the late Betty Sue Shepherd, Ronald Shinn, and Margaret Moore.