John Michael Smith is President of the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA). He has previously served ROPA as an Alternate Delegate (2007), Delegate (2008-2013), and Member-at-Large on the Executive Board (2011-2016). He also has served on the Electronic Media Committee since 2011, and has been Chair since 2013.
As a double bassist, Mike has performed with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra since 1980, first as a section player, and since 2000 as Principal. He has performed, recorded and toured with both the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. He also performs as a free-lance musician in a variety of ensembles and styles, including the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Mill City Summer Opera, Skylark Opera, and as a member of HELIOS, an eclectic chamber music and jazz quartet. He began his professional career with the Norfolk Symphony (now Virginia Symphony), and was a member of the Columbus Symphony.
Mike is also a luthier, operating his own shop, John Michael Smith, Luthier, in St. Paul. He trained first at The Loft Violin Shop in Columbus, Ohio, and later at the Violin Society of America’s String Instrument Restoration Workshop at Oberlin, Ohio, under the direction of Vahakn Nigogosian.
Mike is from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has a Bachelor of Music degree from East Carolina University and a Master of Music from The Ohio State University. His major teachers include Theron McClure at Ohio State, David Perlman of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Peter Lloyd of the Minnesota Orchestra.