Robyn Smith is the newly appointed Principal Trombonist of the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and former Second Trombonist of the Detroit Opera. Robyn graduated with a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory studying under the tutelage of Toby Oft, principal trombone of the Boston Symphony. In her most recent engagements, Robyn has played, as a substitute, with the St. Louis Symphony, The Boston Pops and has toured internationally with the Boston Symphony. She has also previously performed as a fellow with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, The New World Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, American Repertory Theatre, Dee Dee Bridgewater Big Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival and with the artist Lizzo at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. She performs with a variety of ensembles and is an associate artist with the Rodney Marsalis Big Brass. Robyn's solo work includes a performance at Michigan State University’s MLK tribute concert and as a featured soloist on New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Ensemble concert. Her awards extend internationally as she was the winner of the 2018 International Trombone Association’s Marsteller Solo Competition. Robyn is an advocate for the dismantling of oppressive structures that contribute to the lack of black and brown faces within high art forms. She teaches privately while also teaching through the Sistema Ravinia program that targets underrepresented youth in music. Robyn also mentors young black and brown musicians with goals of becoming professional musicians in various programs across the country.
The classical music industry has settled with the insertion of black and brown faces in audiences and on stages as a surface level, almost performative, solution to a systemic issue in classical music. At its core, the culture of this music was not fabricated to meet the needs of a truly diverse industry. Mere acknowledgment of these oppressive structures will not suffice, they must be dismantled.