Shirley Smart

Shirley Smart

Hello, and welcome to Beyond Cello!

Beyond Cello, headed by Shirley Smart, is the place to explore new approaches to the cello, a range of ideas and musical styles including jazz, gypsy jazz, free improvisation, improvisation in classical contexts, as well as music from the traditions of North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Latin America.

In our sessions together, we discuss the value of learning by ear and developing improvising skills for a variety of different contexts, including application in teaching and performance, and it’s been great to see so many people who wish to develop their creative skills. In addition to what we learn by ear, there are follow-up materials (mp3s, sheet music, practice exercises etc.) provided after the sessions.

My own journey into this area began with a love of jazz. Since I was living in Jerusalem at the time, I got to know North African and Arabic music, which also remains a central influence on my musical activities.

2022-2023 Workshops

New season of events to be announced in Autumn 2022.

Further information coming shortly.

Jazz Cellists

Shirley Smart Trio – Live at Kings Place

Melange in Concert – A Musical Journey Across Continents

Lars Danielsson

Another bass player on excursion, I love this track by Danish bassist Lars Danielsson in partnership with pianist Leszek Mozdzer.

Project Trio

A lot of fun to listen to , this trio founded by jazz flute player Greg Patillo ( check out his beat boxing as well!) features Erik Stephenson on cello. Here is their tune ‘Grass’.

Turtle Island String Quartet – Legendary jazz quartet

Ray Brown

Brown is primarily a bass player, but, along with Oscar Pettiford (below) was responsible for some of the first known uses of the cello in jazz. Brown even recorded an album called ‘Jazz Cello’. The track below is from that album.

Stephen Braun

World Music

Jaques Morelenbaum

Brazilian choro, samba and bossa nova suits the cello particularly well. Here is a clip of Morelenbaums trio in action.

Shirley SmartShirley Smart

Shirley Smart has had an unusual and diverse career. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, she performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and made a concerto debut at the Heritage Museum in St. Petersburg. She also gave a concert of trios with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Barbican.

Shirley embarked on further study in Paris with Janos Starker, with Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum at IMS Prussia Cove and at the International Menuhin Academy in Switzerland. Soon after she left the UK for Jerusalem.

Although she initially went for a year, Shirley became involved with various musical projects, met many musicians and friends, and ended up staying for 10 years.  She joined the Moroccan jazz fusion group Sound of the Ground–the result of a chance meeting in a Jerusalem restaurant, which led to many other projects playing Arabic, Oriental and North African music with groups including Sabreen, Tarshika Orchestra, Khaled Jubran, Radio Effendi, al-Farabi Trio, Maurice El-Mediouni, and oud players Bilal Irshed, Haytham Safia and Nizar Rohana.

Shirley also studied jazz improvisation on cello and piano at the Jerusalem Centre Creative Music, run by saxophone player Arnie Lawrence, and subsequently joined his both band, and several other jazz fusion projects. She has toured most of Europe, Russia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco as well as playing all over Israel and Palestine ( and occasionally getting caught in the crossfire….)

Shirley studied musicology and English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a tutor of Cello for several years at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music in Ramallah. She acted on several occasions as a deputy teacher of Cello at the Tel Aviv Conservatory of Music and now teaches Musicianship and Improvisation at the Royal College of Music Junior department.

Since moving back to London in 1999, Shirley has quickly established herself of both the jazz and World Music scenes. she has performed at arts centres and festivals around the UK, and the Channel Islands, and has  worked with, among others, Neil Cowley, Robert Mitchell, Gilad Atzmon, Yasmin Levy, Antonio Forcione, Attab Haddad, Julian Ferraretto, Partikel, Maurizio Minardi, Al-Andaluz, Yazid Fentazi, Khyam Allami, Tamer Abu-Ghazaleh, Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos, Shekoy’okh, Komsos, Sefiroth Ensemble.

She has performed at venues including the Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Kings Place, Ronnie Scotts, 606 jazz Club, Vortex, Brunel Museum, The Forge, National Theatre, Green Note, Rich Mix and also runs a regular world music night at the Green Note in Camden, and a world music jam session at the Ritzy in Brixton.

She also leads her own North African/world music band, Melange. Other current projects include duos with pianist/accordionist Maurizio Minardi and guitarist Peter Michaels, ARA Trio with guitarist Maciek Pysz, Sawa Trio exploring iraqi folk music with Alya Marqhardt and Clemens Poetzch, and “Shortt and Smart” – a shared evening show with comedienne/cellist Kate Shortt.

Shirley speaks Hebrew and Arabic, likes playing tennis, and has a massive soft spot for kittens..and hedgehogs…..

For more information visit

Hannah ReevesHannah Reeves

Hannah Reeves is a London-based cellist with a passion for cellistic experimentation!

She regards the cello as one of the most versatile instruments out there and is continually dreaming up artistic projects which celebrate the wealth and breadth of this glorious instrument (one of which involves hooking up her 1885 French cello to a heavy metal effects pedal, affectionately known as the ‘death pedal’).

Her main musical output is her band, Gallows Ghost (, an electronic dance band with folk, rock and trip hop influences (think Alice in Chains meets Massive Attack). The band released their EP, ‘Arrows’, in early 2015 on Soundcloud.

Hannah is also a music teacher but the other band members are convinced that this is a cover-up and that she is actually some sort of secret vigilante who goes round fighting crime and injustice.

Hannah is delighted to be a part of the LCS’s ‘Beyond Cello’ venture with her fellow cellist/vigilante Shirley Smart and is looking forward to connecting with other like-minded cellists all over London.

For more information visit