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. Cahill has given recitals in major venues in the United States and abroad, including three programs in three years at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (2013, 2014, and 2015), the PolyTheater in Chongqing, China, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall in Boston, 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. Cahill has 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.
Cahill’s programming of works by little-known Russian composer Nikolai Medtner has attracted the attention of audiences and critics. Cahill made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 with an all-Medtner program of solo piano music, songs, and chamber music in Weill Recital Hall, and gave a lecture-recital on the composer at Yale University. In a review of his 2015 Carnegie Hall Recital, New York Concert Review wrote, “The entire second half was devoted to a special “cause” of Mr. Smith: the piano music of Nikolai Medtner […]. Here, Mr. Smith was in his element, revealing every twist and turn, every poignant repeat of the cyclic themes, with beautiful shimmering colors I haven’t heard since Gilels played the Sonata reminiscenza in Carnegie Hall in 1980. Of another performance in 2011, the East Hampton Star wrote, “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.”
Cahill completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music in 2014, where he served as the teaching assistant to Natalya Antonova. At Eastman, Cahill was the inaugural recipient of the Douglas Lowry award for excellence in degree recital performance. He was inducted into the honor society Pi Kappa Lambda for his academic achievements and contributions to the musical community at Eastman. Cahill also won the Eastman Concerto Compeition and was awarded the Prize for Excellence in Teaching as a graduate assistant. 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 with Yakov Kasman. Other influential teachers include Ann Schein, the late Betty Sue Shepherd, Ronald Shinn, and Margaret Moore.
Cahill serves on the piano faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he is also a festival artist for the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition in the summer. He is an active lecturer, competition juror, and masterclass presenter.