Born in 1958 in Siberia, Tamara Smirnova is first associate concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Smirnova started playing the violin at the age of 6 and graduated in 1981 from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, where she studied with Eugenia Chugaeva. Upon completing her studies, she moved to Zagreb, where she became the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. While in Zagreb, Smirnova won acclaim for her numerous solo recitals and solo appearances with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, Zagreb Soloists, and Dubrovnik City Orchestra, among others. She has also appeared with orchestras in the former Soviet Union and concertized in the former Czechoslovakia, former West Germany, Belgium, and Great Britain. A bronze medalist in the 1985 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Smirnova performs regularly at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and won the 1988 Milka Trnina award from the Croatian Musicians Association. In November 1986 she made her acclaimed American recital debut at Jordan Hall in a benefit performance for Project STEP — String Training and Educational Programs for Students of Color. She has performed regularly as a concert soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra and many other New England orchestras, as well as throughout California. In November 1989 she made her first BSO appearance as a concert soloist during the orchestra's subscription season. Smirnova has recorded for Jugoton and has been a lecturer at the Music Academy in Zagreb.