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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Ellen Dinwiddie Smith

Ellen Dinwiddie Smith

Ellen Dinwiddie Smith has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1993 and currently serves as third horn. She also contributes to Twin Cities musical life as the creator of a chamber music series, guest soloist, chamber music performer and private instructor. Recently Smith was a regular substitute musician with the Cleveland Orchestra; she also performed with the Kennedy Center Orchestra and was substitute principal horn with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras. 


Concert Recommendation

Vänskä Conducts Brahms' Third
"I fell in love with Brahms when I was a teenager. Even then I needed no translator to understand Brahms’ unique language. The first time I heard Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 performed live, my (soon-to-be) horn teacher Myron Bloom was playing. The inspiration from this performance sustained me in the practice room for years. The beauty of sound and the rhythmic energy were unforgettable. There is no one better than our own Osmo Vänskä to bring to life this music, and I am certain our performance will be unforgettable!" Concert details & tickets »


Smith developed the Colonial Chamber Series, launched in 2006, and organized the Musicians for Tsunami Relief benefit concert, both held at Colonial Church in Edina. She has performed with the Lakes Chamber Music Society in Alexandria, Minnesota, and the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival. She collaborated on the Dale Warland Singers’ CD Britten, Bernstein, et al., as a soloist in Aharon Harlap’s Bat Yiftach (Jephthah’s Daughter).

Smith was a featured artist at the 2014 MidSouth Horn Workshop in Austin, Texas, and the 2003 International Horn Society Workshop at Indiana University. She will perform with her Minnesota Orchestra horn section colleagues this fall at the MidNorth Horn Workshop at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. She is an artist-teacher on the faculty of Sewanee Summer Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp. As a guest soloist, she has appeared with the National Repertory Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra.

Smith is a 1987 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Myron Bloom and was a member of the Curtis Wind Quintet, which won a top prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music competition. Prior to studies at Curtis, Smith attended the Juilliard School and the University of Texas at Austin. Her teachers included Wayne Barrington, Greg Hustis and Michael Hatfield. She was named third horn of the Charleston (South Carolina) Symphony Orchestra while still a student at Curtis and joined the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra as co-principal horn. She has performed at the Spoleto, Waterloo, Chautauqua, Keystone, Colorado Philharmonic and Aspen summer music festivals.

Smith, who maintains an active teaching studio in the Twin Cities, is adjunct professor of horn at Bethel and Augsburg Colleges. She serves on the board of the Twin Cities Horn Club and is a brass sectional leader for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.