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School of Music


Quick Stats

Kirsten Smith
M.M., Arizona State University
(916) 278-7986 • Email
Office: Capistrano 459

Courses/Areas Taught
  • Class Piano
  • Piano (classical)
  • Theory
  • Musicianship
  • Piano Pedagogy

Professor Kirsten Smith

Kirsten Smith

Motivated by a keen interest in learning, American pianist Kirsten Smith began part time studies at Arizona State University at the age of thirteen, studying sociobiology, history and foreign languages.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance there, studying with pianist Steven De Groote, Gold Medalist of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. A winner of multiple competitions herself, Ms. Smith has been the recipient of awards, scholarships and invitations to music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Van Cliburn Institute. She has been chosen to premiere numerous new works from contemporary composers and has recorded several times for the Centaur label.

In addition to the solo repertoire, Ms. Smith is devoted to the performance of collaborative works, and is a passionate teacher who believes deeply in the importance of discovering and sharing musical knowledge. Ms. Smith has been on the faculty of Sacramento State University since 1996, where she teaches piano, music theory, aural skills, collaborative piano and piano pedagogy. In demand as a lecturer, adjudicator and columnist, Ms. Smith was awarded a prestigious Pedagogy Enhancement Award to develop a graduate-level pedagogy program at Sacramento State.

Raised in a musical family, she began formal lessons with her mother at age four and had already begun teaching piano by age thirteen. Ms. Smith resides in Sacramento, where she divides her time between university teaching, performing, and a burgeoning private studio.