Kirk Smith, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, begins his 30th year as an educator and conductor.  He has just been named Co-Principal Conductor of the NEW Black Music Repertory Ensemble at Columbia College in Chicago. This appointment was announced after a twenty year association as a regular guest conductor with the Center for Black Music Research.

Smith is based in Houston as he grows his own consulting firm, Smith Music Associates. He travels and works as a music education consultant and guest conductor. Previously, he was Head Orchestra Director at Langham Creek High School in Houston, Texas. Langham Creek is a Recognized High School of 3700 students with 3 orchestras and 2 consecutive Grammy Signature Awards. He was most recently from Albany, NY where he was Director of Orchestral Activities at the University at Albany where he conducted the orchestra and the wind ensemble. He was Co-coordinator of Instrumental Music Education and Director of Orchestral Activities during a one year appointment at California State University at Hayward. Smith was Director of Orchestra Activities at Iowa State University from 1989 to 1998. In the fall of 1996 he served as Acting Chair of the Department of Music at Iowa State. In 1994, Smith was on the faculty for the American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1996, Smith founded the ISU Symphony Orchestra Living Music Project. This project promoted American orchestral music composed since 1990.The purpose was to provide a resource for public school, community, and college orchestras who were looking for new literature.

He  was a music assistant with the Colorado Children’s Chorale which was directed by currect Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Duane Wolfe. In Georgia, Smith was assistant conductor of the Sandy Springs Chamber Orchestra and was Director of Instrumental Activities at Georgia State University for three years. Smith served two seasons as Music Director of the Central Iowa Symphony and completed a one year appointments as Music Director of the Fort Dodge Symphony Orchestra and as Music Director of the Centennial Philharmonic in Denver.

Mr. Smith earned a BME and a Performance Certificate in clarinet from Shenandoah University, a MA degree in   Conducting from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, and was a doctoral fellow in conducting at Ball State University. He has advanced studies in conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, the Conductors Guild Summer Institute, the world-renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, and the International Workshop for Conductors in Zlin, Czechoslovakia.

University orchestras under Smith’s direction have performed by invitation at state and regional music conferences in Georgia, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Smith was a three-term member of the Board of Directors of the Conductors Guild, and was chair of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education. He also served on the Board of Directors as government relations chair of the Iowa Music Educators Association. Smith had recently been elected to the executive board of NYASTA with NSOA as a Member-at-large. Smith is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Houston Youth Symphony. He is also a judge for the American Music Prize, as well as a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors.

Smith’s principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck, Harold Farberman, and James Setapen.  He has participated in master classes by Daniel Lewis, Kirk Trevor, Brian Priestman, Frederik Prausnitz, Samuel Jones, and Alexander Polyanichko.  Smith made his conducting debut in 1979, at the age of 21, with a Virginia performance of Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question.

Mr. Smith has guest conducted throughout the country including appearances in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, Atlanta, Cleveland, Boston, Houston, Baltimore, Denver, Boulder, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Florida, Wyoming, Maine, Mexico, Dallas, and Taipei (Taiwan).  He has worked with the following notable soloists: violinists Robert McDuffie, Sanford Allen, Diane Monroe, and Ashley Horne; and vocalists Simon Estes, William Brown, Hilda Harris, and Donnie Ray Albert;the percussion group NEXUS and the legendary gospel singers, The Barrett Sisters.  He has collaborated with highly regarded American composers such as Alvin Singleton, Libby Larson, Hale Smith, Olly Wilson, William Russo, Tracey Rush, and Linda Coleman, having conducted state, regional, and world premiers of their works. Recent  engagements include the Des Moines Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Amarillo Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the Orquestra de Sinfonia Oaxaca (Mexico), as well as an extensive list of public school all state, all region, and all county festivals across the country. Smith has presented sessions at the Georgia Music Educators Conference, the Iowa Music Educators Association State Conference, the Bay Section (CA) CMEA Winter Conference, the NYSSMA (NY) State Summer Conference, and the Conductors Guild Annual National Conference.