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Rachel Smith, founding cellist of the Black Orchid String Trio, holds a bachelor's in music performance from Duquesne University. She is a passionate performer and teacher that believes variety is the key to musical happiness. Having performed genres from baroque to pop throughout her career, she has found a deep love for contemporary chamber music and collaboration with living composers. In 2009, she performed with members of Eighth Blackbird in Blonay, Switzerland during MusicX, a festival dedicated to bringing young composers' work to the stage. As a cellist interested in breaking down boundaries between genres, she has also recorded with several bands, including Ben Shannon, Broken Fences, City Dwelling Nature Seekers and the Worthy Ghosts. She is a cello-playing (and singing!) member of the Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra, a group that strives to make all types of new music accessible to the Pittsburgh public and she performs regularly with OvreArts. A sought-after freelancer, she takes great joy in providing entertainment for weddings, banquets and other special events. She has over seven years of private teaching experience with students of all ages and is a teaching artist with Firefly Arts, an incredible Pittsburgh-based group that offers an opportunity for autistic children and their families to build community through arts programming. Her mornings are spent at Urban League Charter School where she brings a unique perspective to her students by mixing classical training with a modern twist. She has studied with Andrew Rammon, Anne Martindale-Williams, and Adam Liu.