First Violins


Genevieve Smelser

Genevieve Smelser joined the violin section of The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2023. She comes from a family of musicians in Chicago, Illinois, and her primary teachers included Mathias Tacke of the Vermeer Quartet and Gerardo Ribeiro. 

Smelser received her bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2017 as a student of Stephen Rose. During her studies at CIM, she won the 2015 Concerto Competition — performing Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the CIM Orchestra as a result — and received the 2017 Award of Violin Excellence upon graduating. In 2019, Smelser received her master’s degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music as a student of Paul Kantor. She performed Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with the Shepherd Symphony after winning the school’s 2019 Concerto Competition. 

From 2019 to 2021, Smelser was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she served as concertmaster under the direction of Ken-David Masur.

Smelser has performed in music festivals across the world including the Grant Park Music Festival, Verbier, Spoleto, Fontainebleau, The Perlman Music Program, and Music Academy of the West. She has also performed extensively with many orchestras including the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, as well as the Chicago, Houston, and Milwaukee symphonies. Outside of orchestral playing, Smelser enjoys reading, chamber music with friends, and gardening.