Charles Paul’s promotion follows a wave of new appointments for the orchestra


Photo: The Cleveland Orchestra

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Double bassist Charles Paul has been promoted to first assistant principal bass with the Cleveland Orchestra. One of four new appointments for the Ohio string section with violinists Genevieve Smelser, Youngji Kim and Liyuan Xie, joining the first and second violins on 28 August. 

Paul joined the orchestra in January 2022 after serving with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is also a founding member of the Kinetic Ensemble, an artist-led and curated chamber orchestra in Houston, Texas, and plays with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and the Teatro Nuovo Bel Canto Orchestra.  

Originally from Detroit, Paul graduated from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in performance under the tutelage of Paul Ellison and Timothy Pitts. He has won numerous awards including first prize at the 2016 TCU International Double Bass Competition. Paul is a fellowship recipient from Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival and Spoleto Festival. 

As a soloist, Paul has premiered works by Doug Balliet, Erin Gee, Theo Chandler, and Jon Anderson. In 2018, he performed as a solo act on the main stage of the Detroit Music Weekend, opening for the Jackson Five.  

Smelser joins the first violin section officially after performing extensively with the orchestra. Smelser was concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2019 to 2021 and has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago, Houston and Milwaukee Symphony. 

In an interview with Broadway World Smelser said: ’Cleveland has felt like a second home since I attended the Cleveland Insititute of Music. As a student, coming to Severance Music Center and hearing the Cleveland Orchestra changed my life, and ten years later, I feel honoured to work alongside such exquisite musicians and people.’ 

Joining Smelser in the firsts, Korean violinist Kim will join the orchestra after previously serving as second violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra and an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of Yale School of Music where she studied with Ani Kavafian and Syoko Aki, Kim has won multiple accolades including first prize at the KBS KEPCO competition and the Segye Ilbo Competition; second prize at the Joongang Music Competition; and third at the Hong Kong Generation Next Arts International Music Competition. She is also a Gyeonggi Young Artist and a Kumho Young Artist in Korea. 

Chinese violinist, and last new appointment for the orchestra, Xie is currently completing his first-year master’s degree at the New England Conservatory under Miriam Fried. After making his solo debut aged eleven, Xie has performed with the Shanghai Philharmonic, Shanghai Opera House Symphony, Nanjing Philharmonic, Qingdao Symphony, Shanghai Chamber Orchestra, and Novus Classical Camerata Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Boston Ballet Orchestra. 

‘I have been listening to recordings of the Cleveland Orchestra since I was a little kid and it’s such a great pleasure to be able to play with them,’ Xie told Broadway World. ‘There are a lot of great concerts I’m really looking forward to next season, but I’m particularly excited about Bartók’s String Quartet no.3, arranged for string orchestra, next January at Carnegie Hall.’ 

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