Rebecca Erin Smith


Fulbright Scholar R. E. Smith is a young Australian composer who is currently a Masters candidate at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She specialises in collaborative media and concert pieces working primarily with larger ensembles of acoustic instruments, at times electronically manipulated and set alight with found sounds. Most recently her work has been exhibited in masterclasses held by Dr Lewis Nielson (Oberlin College), and Dr Robert Cuckson (Mannes College: The New School). The past two years has seen Rebecca awarded the Deolus Husband Scholarship for Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, Young People and the Arts International Scholarship from the Department of Culture and the Arts Australia, the Barbara MacLeod Scholarship from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Dr Harold Schenberg Music Prize from the University of Western Australia, and the Marvin Hamlisch scholarship in composition from the Juilliard School. Her choral works have been shortlisted for NYC based ensemble C4’s 2014 commissioning competition and Paula & David Tunley Awards. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the APRA professional development awards, and named runner up in 2011. Rebecca has worked in a compositional capacity with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, WA Youth Orchestras, Australian Youth Orchestra, and LiNK Dance Company, alongside numerous bands and contemporary new music ensembles worldwide.

Composer website:

Featured Works

Apricity, for orchestra.

I have a great fascination with the idea of musical works already existing in some form, and the role of the composer in directing their progress into fully-fledged works of art. I was introduced to this idea when I came across some very insightful words by Emiliana Torrini; “It’s like a room full of balloons and you’re pulling one down by its string.” The intention of this work was to distil a pre-existing visual idea into its musical form; for the composer to play the role of alchemist, as opposed to solely creator. In this way the process of composition was quite different to that of my other recent works where I explore ideas of a more transcendental nature within self-conceived narratives. This work is a meditation on a singular phenomenon; a burst of the sun’s warmth on a cold winter’s day.

Featured in Playlist 2 – Other-worldly Waves (28/02/2015)