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Classical Music Institute Leadership Stories: Melissa Unsell-Smith, Board Chair

There’s no other way to describe it, music unites. It is a universal language that transcends borders.

I grew up listening to all types of music. I have fond memories of putting on performances in my living room for anyone who would watch. In middle school and high school, I danced competitively on regional and national stages as well as played the piano, flute and saxophone. My days flourished with dance and music.

I joined the Board of the Classical Music Institute (CMI) initially for my love of music. I quickly fell in love with the mission of the organization and the innovative culture. I admire that we focus on under-served youth that have interests in the arts. With education at our core, we allow students to fine-tune their developing artistic skills while interacting with artists from around the globe. These students become the future framework of classical music, whether they pursue mastering their instruments or become an advocate for the arts. CMI is cultivating an artistic ecosystem that catalyzes classical music appreciation. That’s really exciting to me.

Brian Smith, Melissa Unsell-Smith and Melanie Matcek. Photography by Siggi Ragnar.

We extend our educational focus to audiences by hosting performances throughout the year. Our performances feature artists that fly in from around the world to showcase well-known composers as well as highly acclaimed younger composers. Some of the past performances by the orchestra have literally touched my soul. I remember last season, putting my hand to my heart with a dropped jaw in utter astonishment. That audible journey of inspiration, learning and reflection is priceless. I look forward to more moments just like that.

–Melissa Unsell-Smith
Board Chair

Discover more about the Classical Music Institute of San Antonio at
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