As Violinist and violist, LaDonna Smith has been on the international new music scene for well over 20 years. She is an active performer, as well as an educator and native of Birmingham, Alabama. By networking with organizers and musicians from other cities, and through her work withthe improvisor, she has been responsible for keeping improvised music alive in the South Eastern United States. In1996, she organized the first Birmingham International Improvisation Festival, which featured performers from Sweden, Russia, and Ukraine in concert and workshop, as well as a host of regional and national participants in music, theatre, and dance.
LaDonna has created a style of improvisation on violin and viola that is uniquely her own. Alternating classical and extended techniques, she explores her instrument, painting scenarios and sound pictures as she plays. She has performed at practically every major improvisation festival and many of the New Music Festivals. She has toured Europe on numerous occasions, playing solo and in collaboration with local musicians. Her travels have taken her to the former USSR, Siberia, and Japan. In addition, she and guitarist, Davey Williams, have toured North America and Europe many times as Trans Duo. As musical partners, they maintain their own recording label, TransMuseq, and also co-editthe improvisor, the international journal of free improvisation, printed eleven editions, and now under construction in its revised world- wide-web edition. She was participant in the UCSD 1999 Symposium on Improvisation in LaJolla, CA.
As a teacher, not only has she given many workshops on free improvisation throughout the U.S. and Canada to schoolchildren and college students, but for 15 years, she has taught violin to hundreds of children in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the Director of the Birmingham Suzuki Violin Association. This year, she took 24 students and 14 adults to Japan to participate in the 42nd National Suzuki Concert in Tokyo. The Suzuki Violinists also performed their own concerts in Nagano, and a Sister City International Friendship Concert in Hitachi. She is on the violin faculty of the Central Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute, and there she also teaches "improvisation."
Her publications include:the improvisor,the international journal of free improvisation I-XI the improvisor,the international journal of free improvisation I-XI (editor/publisher/manager),The American Suzuki Journal Summer 1998,, Ability Development, Journal of the British Suzuki Association, Journal of the International Talent Education Association, Heresies #10; Women in Music, (score & article); surrealist literary publications: Glass Veal, Beef Sphinx, The Hourglass, Free Spirits, Exposcao Internacional Surrealismo & Pintura Fantastica, Dungannon, Arsenal, The Dirt Furnace; interviews & features in various music publications including Muckrucker, Living Music, WIRE, and CODA MAGAZINE,
Sound objects include:
Since 1978, LaDonna has a long history of working with dance, beginning with Birmingham Creative Dance Company founded by Laura Knox. Her improvisation her collaborations include work with Katie Duck, Sycamore, Juanita Suarez, Mary Horn, and Susan Hefner and Dancers of NYC. She works regularly with Butoh artist, Deborah Mauldin Creel. Most recently she collorated musically with Deborah Mauldin-Creel, Sycamore, and Stephanie Averette in long swinging trapese pieces at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Site.
LaDonna is also a visual artist, whose surrealist drawings and ceramics have been exhibited nationally. She also loves teaching and practicing yoga, and believes the mind, body, spirit connection is the basis of her playing.