Lisa Rushton Smith

Violin, Viola Teacher

Lisa Rushton Smith

SAA Member

Lisa Rushton Smith is a dedicated teacher, performer and administrator. In 2011, she founded Zephyr String Ensemble and Violin Studio. As part of Zephyr, Lisa provides live music for various events and teaches violin and viola lessons to all ages.

She has also served in many music administrative positions, including Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO) Personnel Manager, player representative on the YSO Music Director Search Committee, player representative for the YSO Orchestra Committee, Aardvark String Quartet Manager, CWU Orchestra Manager/Librarian, and CWU Orchestra Festival Coordinator. In 2012, she served a two-year term on the Ellensburg Arts Commission, creating opportunities for local artists and musicians, as well as promoting First Friday Art Walk and supporting public art installations. She was also delighted to be the 2014 CWU Prep Strings Summer Camp Director after teaching in the program as a college student. From 2014-2019, Lisa served as President for the Kittitas Valley Music Education Parents (KVMEP), a non-profit established to support local school orchestra programs.

Lisa received a Bachelor of Music degree from Central Washington University in 2002, where she was a Farrell Merit Scholar. While there, she studied with Carrie Rehkopf, then continued violin studies after graduation with Ronald Patterson and Denise Dillenbeck. A violinist with the YSO since 1998, she joined as a scholarship student and has continued as a tenured member for over 20 years. Lisa has also freelanced for several Pacific Northwest orchestras, including Wenatchee, Mid-Columbia, Everett Philharmonic, Oregon East, Walla Walla and Synergia Northwest symphonies. As a member of the Aardvark String Quartet, she started playing viola as well, and is heard on the 2007 CD “Tranquillo: A Northwest Celebration.” She has also studied viola with Michelle Rahn.

In addition to teaching a growing studio, she works in the CWU Music Library finding lots of great recordings and music to learn. Lisa has also enjoyed being a Suzuki mom to her three girls, who also play violin and viola. In her spare time, Lisa loves to garden, raise chickens and find lots of good books to read. This fall Lisa will return to school to complete a masters in Viola Performance.