Emerson Smith

Meet Emerson Smith, PCM’s Education Programs Intern. Emmy is a PCM alum and currently attends the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), studying Piano performance with Craig Richey. She plans on graduating in 2025.

Young woman sits on a bench in a courtyard

Why did you apply for the Education Programs Internship at PCM?

I really enjoyed my time at PCM and I wanted to spend my summer helping out the place that helped me so much.

What are your goals as a musician as of now?

I would really like to get into teaching. And, I enjoy all the opportunities I get at the conservatory. I am learning a lot and I feel so lucky to be able to work with and be guided by experienced faculty.

Why did you choose CSULB?

I had a masterclass with Craig Richey at PCM around 2016 and I always remember that as a really valuable experience. From that point on, I was set on CSULB just so I could study with him.

And how has it been studying there this year?

I love studying at the Bob Cole Conservatory. The students are encouraging and I really benefit from the non-competitive atmosphere. I feel like I am really improving as a musician.

Is there anything in particular you are hoping to learn through this internship at PCM?

I was really interested in all the parts that make programs like this work. So far it’s really cool to be so involved in all the events I used to enjoy.

Have you had any learning experiences during your time studying music, either at PCM or elsewhere, that have really stuck with you?

I feel like I took a lot of things for granted when I was younger. Now that I am in college, I am realizing that I was extremely lucky to study here and have so many experiences others don’t have until college. At the time I think I knew I was lucky to be here, but I didn’t really know how lucky I was. It taught me to have more gratitude for all the opportunities I get and taught me to be present.

What is your favorite piece to play?

My favorite piece that I have played was probably Brahms Rhapsody No.2. It was on my senior recital. I’m currently working on the first Chopin Scherzo, and I’m really enjoying that. Maybe it will beat the Brahms Rhapsody some day.

Who is your favorite composer? Who are some artists you like to listen to in your free time?

I really love Shostakovich, I love the trios, I think those are some of the best pieces written. I have always really loved Rimsky-Korsakov ever since I was little. I would listen to Scheherezade on my little Hello Kitty CD player. I listen to a lot of jazz, I saw Chick Corea, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade live right before the pandemic. I also really enjoy Bill Evans. Outside of piano or instrumental centered music I really like Thundercat, and indie music from the 90’s like Elliott Smith. I am constantly in a cycle of relistening to all of his discography.

Read a previous post by Emmy from when she was a graduating senior.