In my nearly 70 years as a dedicated music student, performer and teacher, I find that I have experienced many life lessons, serious, ridiculous, profoundly mysterious, funny, exasperating. Some of my stories might be parables. Others are just unexpected. A life in the arts can be interesting to examine because it has essentially different goals than most vocations.
Gary Smart’s career has encompassed a wide range of activities as composer, classical and jazz pianist, and teacher. Always a musician with varied interests, he may be the only pianist to have studied with Yale scholar/keyboardist Ralph Kirkpatrick, the great Cuban virtuoso Jorge Bolet, and the master jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. A true American pluralist, Dr. Smart composes and improvises a music that reflects an abiding interest in Americana, jazz, and world musics, as well as the Western classical tradition.
Smart’s work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Music Educator’s National Conference, the Music Teacher’s National Association and the National Endowment for the Arts. Smart’s music has been performed in major venues in the U.S., including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as venues in Europe and Asia. His “Concordia” for orchestra won the Concordia jazz composition award and was premiered at Lincoln Center, New York.