Lisa Rushton Smith

Violin, Viola Teacher

Lisa Rushton Smith

SAA Member


Ellensburg, WA
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Lisa Rushton Smith founded Zephyr String Ensemble and Violin Studio in 2011. She has served in many music administrative positions, including Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO) Personnel Manager, Aardvark String Quartet Manager, CWU Orchestra Manager/Librarian, and CWU Orchestra Festival Coordinator. As a player representative on the YSO Music Director Search Committee in 2010, a first-time replacement was found, replacing the retiring founding director after 40 years. Actively involved on the Ellensburg Arts Commission, Lisa helped promote First Friday Art Walk, public art installations and creating opportunities for local artists and musicians. In 2014, she was delighted to be the CWU Prep Strings Summer Camp Director after teaching in the program as a college student.

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 then continued as a tenured member. 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.”

Currently, Lisa is in her 2nd term as a player representative on the YSO orchestra committee, and recently became President for the Kittitas Valley Music Education Parents (KVMEP), a non-profit established to support local music programs. As part of Zephyr, Lisa provides live music for various events and teaches violin and viola lessons to all ages. A committed homeschool and Suzuki mom, she is enjoying her three girls’ musical education, the youngest just starting the pre-twinkles.