Sera Smolen

Sera Smolen

Elmira Savings Bank Chair


“Since 1984, I have loved performing with the CCO and I particularly enjoy working with fellow musicians on masterpieces for the chamber series. I also treasure the educational programs for the second graders, which I have helped with for over 25 years.  There are many amazing people in the CCO whose charisma and brilliance have shaped this award winning program. Teachers have told me that the CCO is a big reason why musical instrument study in their schools has grown.  Some schools have even had to buy more instruments to meet the demand!”

Sera Smolen, soloist, collaborator, chamber musician, improviser, orchestral musician and recording artist, is an active performer of numerous genres of music, including four centuries of classical music. She has studied improvisation extensively with many teachers, and has performed in the US, Canada, Europe and India in numerous collaborations as an improvising musician. In addition to premiering new music, “interdisciplinarity” is a passion, bringing her to collaborate with dancers, sculptors, painters and poets.  She composes and records original music with her husband, Tom Mank with whom she has toured in the Netherlands and Belgium, most recently in April 2009 and in 2014.  Smolen received her PhD in music education from the Union Institute in 2000. She currently teaches at the Kanack School in Rochester NY, in her Suzuki cello studio in Ithaca, NY, and as a guest clinician around the United States and Canada.  She has taught at Mansfield University, Alfred University, and Hobart and William Smith College.  She is the assistant director of the New Directions Cello Festival and is a founding member of the Binghamton Cello Festival.  Smolen is in demand to lead seminars for teachers covering pedagogies of improvisation and composition for developing string players.

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