We caught up with trombonist Robyn Smith ’19, ’21 MM to hear about her summer as a Tanglewood Fellow, her favorite spots in the Berkshires, and what's inspiring her these days. Our text conversation includes shoutouts to contemporary composer Kevin Day, Betty's Pizza Shack in Lenox, and all the Black athletes who shone with excellence this summer.
A transcript is included at the bottom of the page.
NEC: Hi Robyn! Excited to catch up with you, thanks for making time!
Robyn Smith: No problem! Happy to catch up.
NEC: Hurray! To start out, can you send us a snapshot and tell us where you’re chatting from today?
RS: I am chatting from the Berkshire Mountains at Tanglewood!
NEC: That’s so exciting! Have you spent time at Tanglewood before, or is this summer a first?
RS: This is my first time as a TMC fellow. I did the BUTI program twice in high school so I’m familiar with the area/festivities.
NEC: Nice! As a TMC fellow, what are you most looking forward to, musically speaking?
RS: It’s been a long year of playing alone. It’s just really exciting to be playing with others again, especially in an orchestral setting. It’s been over a year since I’ve played with an orchestra and I miss the energy and passion you’re able to soak in from others.
NEC: Yes! I think many of us are feeling that these days! How have rehearsals been going so far? Any favorite pieces?
RS: We haven’t started official rehearsals yet, but things have been going well! I’m playing a piece written for low brass entitled “Ignition” by Kevin Day and I really enjoy playing it. We’ve met up to play it through a few times.
NEC: Hooray for contemporary composers! ☺️ How about non-musical fun — what are you enjoying most so far? Any favorite spots on the Tanglewood campus?
RS: It’s so nice to be surrounded by so much nature...the mountains, water, and fresh air. My favorite place on Tanglewood grounds is Ozawa Hall. The hall sounds so amazing and is extremely beautiful. Also, Betty’s Pizza shack in Lenox Town square is incredibly good.
NEC: That sounds wonderful. Okay, last question: would you like to give a shoutout to a couple of people or things that are inspiring you these days? Or just making you happy!
RS: I’m inspired by the black Olympic athletes that are really killing it right now! Our crafts are a lot different but a lot alike as well. Their discipline, power and determination is really inspiring. It pushes me to continue to work hard and be diligent about my goals. They are beating the odds and my placement in this field is somewhat similar.
NEC: Love this comparison, and taking inspiration from their excellence! Okay, will let you get back to enjoying the mountains! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Wishing you an excellent summer!
RS: Thank you! It was great talking with you!
NEC: You too!