A PSYO Success Story! cover

A PSYO Success Story!


This is a letter from a former-PSYO (Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra) member Daniel Smith’s parents. We’re very proud to acknowledge that Daniel has gone on to receive tenure as the Associate Principal Bass at the San Francisco Symphony! A huge thanks to his parents for sharing this touching letter.
Pacific Symphony Blog

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A PSYO Success Story!

“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Carl St.Clair?”

On a quiet afternoon, I’m standing in line behind a bespectacled gentleman at the grocery store, who reminds me of the Orange County maestro that I always see dressed in a tuxedo. He responded to my question with a smile and said “Just my mother!”

After we both laughed, he offered me a warm handshake and introduced himself. I told Carl, “Thank you so much for the wonderful experience that our son Daniel had when he was in the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra!”

Daniel Smith, via San Francisco Symphony

Carl asked what Daniel was doing now, and I proudly told him that Daniel had just won tenure with the San Francisco Symphony as the Associate Principal of the Bass section. Carl asked if I would share his story on the Pacific Symphony Orchestra website.

Daniel was very excited as an 8th grader to be accepted in the PSYO, and he learned so much from playing in this excellent group as well as taking lessons from the Pacific Symphony Assistant Principal Bassist, Doug Basye. After three years with PSYO, he began playing with the American Youth Symphony, and was accepted in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston.

After graduating in 2013, Daniel’s professional career was launched. He was accepted on a music scholarship at Music Academy of the West, and later became the Principal Bass of the Santa Barbara Symphony. He also played with the San Diego Symphony for two years, and occasionally as a substitute bassist with various groups including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Chamber Orchestra and New World Symphony. In 2017, Daniel won the Associate Principal Bass position in the San Francisco Symphony, and in April 2019 received tenure.

At the request of my new friend, Carl St.Clair, I gladly submit this story of Daniel G. Smith and the start of his music career as a member of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. My wife and I offer a resounding and heartfelt “Thank-you!!” to Carl and Pacific Symphony for the wonderful and career launching experience Daniel enjoyed as a member of PSYO!

Most gratefully yours,

Kevin and Karen Smith