A/Associate Concertmaster – West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Australian Hometown: Perth
Education: University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music; Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Sweelinck Academy
Semra Lee-Smith was born in Malaysia and commenced violin lessons aged 3 with her mother, Hooi Tong Lee. She gained her Bachelor of Music degree at the WA Conservatorium of Music, studying with Pal Eder. Semra also holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium, studying with Istvan Parkanyi. She undertook string quartet studies with the Halcyon String Quartet at the Australian National Academy of Music and at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. Tutors included Hatto Beyerle, the Arditti Quartet and David Takeno. In 2000, Semra won a position with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Semra started in a tutti position with WASO in 2003 and was appointed Associate Principal 2nd Violin in 2004. In 2009, she won the Assistant Concertmaster job and has been the Acting Associate Concertmaster since 2014. She appeared as Guest Concertmaster with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in concerts for the 2019 MONA FOMA.
She is sought after as a chamber musician and is a founding member of the Darlington Piano Trio and Darlington String Quartet, core ensembles for Darlington Concerts, created in 2003. Collectively, they form the Darlington Ensemble and are Ensemble in Residence at UWA’s Conservatorium of Music. The trio commissioned James Ledger’s “Inscriptions” and recorded Roger Smalley’s piano trio for UWA’s centenary celebrations “Luminosity” CD. In 2018, the Darlington String Quartet commissioned and premiered James Ledger’s 3rd String Quartet, “Menace and Appeal”. Other notable chamber music partners have included Brett Dean, Ashley Smith and Myron Romanul.
Semra has featured regularly in the Soft Soft Loud chamber music series and as the leader of the new music ensemble, Etica. Semra’s versatility as a performer has seen her record Troy Roberts’ jazz quartet/string quartet “Xenden Suite”, back Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers at the Big Day Out and feature as a soloist with WASO. 2020 saw her premiere Simon Kruit’s “Disconnects” with the Darlington String Quartet and record Emma Jayakumar’s Bell Birds Suite, a new commission from the ABC. In addition, she is a lecturer in violin at UWA and is also an AMEB examiner.
Last updated 2021