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Music Department

Dr. Aaron Smith

Director, Musical Activities, Chairman, USNA Music Department

Aaron FormalDR. AARON SMITH, Director of Musical Activities at the United States Naval Academy, accepted his appointment following a long series of impressive accomplishments as one of New York City's most successful choral conductors and now oversees one of the most visible music programs in the country. 

A nationally acclaimed conductor, he has been seen in a wide variety of performances and performing venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and many other prominent concert halls and churches around the world. 

Highlight musical collaborations include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Portland Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Kronos Quartet, Chanticleer, the American Boychoir, Mark Morris Dance Group, the Great Performer’s Series, the Mostly Mozart Festival, Kurt Masur, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Sir Colin Davis, Zdenek Macal, Joseph Flummerfelt, John Rutter, and soloists such as Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Gregory Kunde, and Beyonce.  His performances have been heard on multiple television and radio stations across the nation.  Additionally, Dr. Smith assisted in the preparation of the Emmy Award nominated performance of the “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast of Mozart’s Requiem in 2001.

Dr. Smith received a Vocal Performance Certificate and his undergraduate degree in Choral Music from the University of Texas at Austin, a Masters degree with Honors and Distinction in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and his Doctorate in Choral Conducting from SUNY Stony Brook, New York.

 

Quotes

"...the audience realized there's nothing like a big, finely trained chorus and Aaron Smith gets the credit for training this one at Annapolis." -Charlotte Observer

"The chorus numbered 89 Midshipmen, all amateurs, but Dr. Aaron Smith, director of the Musical Activities Department at Annapolis, has molded them into a coherent entity that sounds virtually professional. There is none of the muddiness that one usually encounters with a large group of untrained singers." -Maine Sunday Telegram

"The choirs contributed shimmering, translucent timbres to the vocal movements." -The New York Sun

"The Dessoff Choirs, capably conducted by Aaron Smith, matched the Kronos Quartet in derring-do, taking the work as seriously, finding the beauty..." -Musical America

"...with a conductor whose gentle connection to the music and singers was an art form in itself." -Mander Organs

Audio (Live Performances)

Ubi caritas (Durufle)
If Ye Love Me (Tallis)
Ave Maria (Biebl)
Requiem (Durufle)
          Introit and Kyrie
          Domine Jesu Christe
          Sanctus
          Pie Jesu
          Agnus Dei
          Lux aeterna
          Libera me
          In paradisum
Cum jubilo (Durufle)
          Kyrie
          Gloria
          Sanctus
          Benedictus
          Agnus Dei
Missa Vidi speciosam (Victoria)
          Kyrie
          Gloria
          Credo
          Sanctus
          Agnus Dei
Shenandoah (Bartholomew)
Spaseniye sodelal (Chesnokov)
Eternal Father (Dykes)
America the Beautiful (Ward)

Professional Experience (past 15 years)
Director of Musical Activities, Chairman, and Principal Conductor
United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland
2006-present

Lead Clinician and Adjudicator
Annapolis Music Festival
Annapolis, Maryland
2007-present

Conductor
Multiple Amateur and Professional Ensembles (Choral and Orchestral)
New York, New York
2001-2006

Assistant Director of Music
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
980 Park Avenue, New York, New York
2001-2005

Guest Conductor
Montclair State University
Montclair Heights, New Jersey
2003-2006

Principal Guest Conductor
The Dessoff Choirs
New York, New York
2001-2006

Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities
Bard Early College (Bard College, Manhattan Campus)
New York, New York
2001-2003

Assistant Conductor
Masterwork Chorus
Morristown, New Jersey
1999-2001

Professional Collaborations


New York Philharmonic
Philadelphia Orchestra
Dallas Symphony
New Jersey Symphony
Nashville Symphony
Portland Symphony
Winston-Salem Symphony
Jacksonville Symphony
Charlotte Symphony
Orchestra of St. Lukes
Brooklyn Philharmonic
Charlotte Symphony
Memphis Symphony
Kronos Quartet
Chanticleer
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
American Boychoir
The Dessoff Choirs
Masterwork Chorus
Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Mark Morris Dance Group
Live from Lincoln Center
Mostly Mozart Festival
Great Performers Series
Kurt Mazur
Wolfgang Sawallisch
Sir Colin Davis
Zdenek Macal
John Rutter
Joseph Flummerfelt
Andrew McGill
Craig Hella Johnson
Albert-George Schram
Robert Moody
Jeff Tyzik
George Stevens
Ian Fraser
Tom Hall
Stephen Paulus
Cultural Services of the Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, France, and Korea Embassies
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Lincoln Center
Kennedy Center
Carnegie Hall
HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, PBS Television

Selected Soloists With Whom Dr. Smith Has Recently Collaborated


Renee Fleming
Stephanie Blythe
Marietta Simpson
Jeanine DeBique
Heidi Grant Murphy
Susanne Mentzer
Irene Roberts
Tamara Mumford
Meredith Arwady
Janice Chandler Eteme
Christine Brandes
Richard Croft
Gregory Kunde
Lawrence Wiliford
Dean Peterson
Stanford Olsen
Karen Clift
Karla Scott
Erin Wall
Elizabeth de Trejo
Kevin Burdette
Benjamin Butterfield
Robin Blaze
Sara Murphy
Michael Sumuel
Musa Ngqungwana
Grant Youngblood
William Burden
Oren Gradus
Paul Groves
Kathleen Kim
Morris Robinson
 
Selected Performance Highlights 2001-2018

Durufle Requiem
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2018

Guest Chorus for Performances with Memphis Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Memphis Symphony (Tennessee)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Robert Moody, conductor)
2017

Concert Tour - Savannah, Hilton Head, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2018

Durufle Cum jubilo, Poulenc Gloria, Whitacre Deep Field
US Naval Academy, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2017 

Concert Tour - Los Angeles
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2017

Guest Chorus for Performances with Dallas Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Dallas Symphony (Texas)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Jeff Tyzik, conductor)
2016

Bernstein Candide
US Naval Academy, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2016

Concert Tour - San Francisco
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2016

Kennedy Center Honors
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2015 - National Broadcast on CBS

Guest Chorus for Performances with Charlotte Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Charlotte Symphony (North Carolina)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Albert-George Schram, conductor)
2015

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
US Naval Academy, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2015

Concert Tour - Florida
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2015

Handel Messiah
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2014 - National Broadcast on P.B.S.

Guest Chorus for Performances with Jacksonville Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Jacksonville Symphony (Florida)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Michael Krajewski, conductor)
2014

Beethoven Symphony No.9
US Naval Academy, Baltimore Choral Arts Society and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2014

Concert Tour - Arizona, Nevada, and California
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2014

Kennedy Center Honors
US Naval Academy, Joseph Calleja, Sondra Radvanovsky
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Steven White, conductor)
2013 - National Broadcast on CBS

JFK 50th Commemoration (Official Ceremony)
US Naval Academy Live at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX
Aaron Smith, conductor
2013 - National and International Television Broadcast

Guest Chorus for Performances with Winston-Salem Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Winston-Salem Symphony (North Carolina)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Robert Moody, conductor)
2013

Verdi Requiem
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2013

Carnegie Hall
US Naval Academy, Harvard Glee Club, University Glee Club of New York
Aaron Smith, Andrew Clark, and Francisco Nunez, Conductors
2013

"Christmas in Washington"
US Naval Academy, Conan O'Brien, Diana Ross, Megan Hilty, Demi Lovato, Scotty McCreery, Chris Mann, PSY 
With the President and First Family
2012 - National Television Broadcast

Concert Tour - Georgia and South Carolina
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2012

Mahler Symphony No. 2
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2012

Concert Tour - Texas
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2012

"Christmas in Washington"
US Naval Academy, Conan O'Brien, Justin Bieber, CeeLo Green, Victoria Justice, etc.
With the President and First Family
2011 - National Television Broadcast

Handel Messiah
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2011

Concert Tour - Michigan
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2011

Guest Chorus for Performances with Portland Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Portland Symphony (Maine)
Aaron Smith, chorus master (Robert Moody, conductor)
2011

Faure Requiem and Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2011

Concert Tour - Florida and Puerto Rico
US Naval Academy
Aaron Smith, conductor
2011

Dvorak Requiem
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2010

"We Are One" Inauguration Concert for President Obama
Renee Fleming and the US Naval Academy
Lincoln Memorial (HBO Broadcast, live audience of over 500,000 people)
2009

Orff Carmina Burana
US Naval Academy and the Annapolis Symphony
Aaron Smith, conductor
2008

Guest Chorus for Performances with Nashville Symphony
US Naval Academy and the Nashville Symphony (Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
Aaron Smith and Albert-George Schram, conductors
2007

Riley Sun Rings for String Quartet and Chorus (*Connecticut Premiere)
Kronos Quartet and the Dessoff Choirs for the University of Connecticut, Jorgensen Auditorium 50th Anniversary
Aaron Smith, conductor
2006

Handel Judas Maccabaeus
Brooklyn Philharmonic and Festival Singers
Aaron Smith, conductor
2006

Paulus Voices of Lights
1st Performance After World Premiere
Aaron Smith, conductor
2005

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art "Lighting of the Christmas Tree" Concert
Canticum Sacrum Choir
Aaron Smith, conductor
2004

Riley Sun Rings for String Quartet and Chorus (*New York Premiere)
Kronos Quartet and the Dessoff Choirs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Concert Hall
Aaron Smith, conductor
2004

Victoria Missa Vidi speciosam and Durufle Requiem
Professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Aaron Smith, conductor
2003

Vivaldi Gloria
Mark Morris Dance Group and the Dessoff Choirs
Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Aaron Smith, chorus master
2003

Cain Goldberg Variations (*New York Premire)
"Great Performers Series" at Lincoln Center
Aaron Smith, conductor
2003

Durufle Messe Cum jubilo
Professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola (in collaboration with the Sounds French! Festival)
Aaron Smith, featured conductor along with Boulez and Rostropovich
2003

Works of Poulenc, Johnson, Thompson, and others
Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, The American Boychoir (Featured Concert of ACDA National Convention)
Aaron Smith, Vincent Matello, and Kent Tritle, conductors
2002

D'Indy Saint Marie-Magdeleine and works of Massenet, Frank, Guilmant, and Saint-Saens
Professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Aaron Smith, conductor
2002

Barber Prayers of Kierkegaard
Professional Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola
Aaron Smith, conductor
2001

Handel Messiah
Masterwork Chorus at Carnegie Hall
Aaron Smith Prepared chorus (Andrew Megill, conductor)
2001

Recordings


Kennedy Center Honors, 2015
National Broadcast on CBS
US Naval Academy - Aaron Smith, conductor

Handel's Messiah: A United States Naval Academy Tradition, 2014
National Broadcast on P.B.S.
US Naval Academy Glee Club and Annapolis Symphony Orchestra - Aaron Smith, conductor

Kennedy Center Honors, 2013
National Broadcast on CBS
US Naval Academy, Joseph Calleja, Sondra Radvanovsky - Aaron Smith, chorus master

JFK 50th Commemoration, 2013
National and International Broadcast on All Major Network and News Television Stations
US Naval Academy - Aaron Smith, conductor

"Christmas in Washington", 2012
National Television Broadcast
US Naval Academy, Conan O'Brien, Diana Ross, Megan Hilty, Demi Lovato, Scotty McCreery, Chris Mann, PSY - Aaron Smith, chorus master

PBS' Anthem, 2012
National Broadcast on P.B.S.
Features Chorus as Definitive Rendering of the U.S. National Anthem - Aaron Smith, conductor

"Christmas in Washington", 2011
National Television Broadcast
US Naval Academy, Conan O'Brien, CeeLo Green, Victoria Justice, Jennifer Hudson, The Band Perry - Aaron Smith, chorus master

On Tour: Volume II
, 2010
US Naval Academy Men's Glee Club CD
Aaron Smith, conductor

New Sounds Live,
2005
Radio Interview with John Shafer (WNYC)
Kronos Quartet, Aaron Smith, and other panelists

The Littlest Light on the Christmas Tree
, 2003
Animated Film
Assembled Choir - Aaron Smith, conductor

Wedding Music
, 2003
Professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
AMDG Records - Aaron Smith, conductor

PBS' "Live from Lincoln Center", 2001
Mozart Requiem
The Dessoff Choirs  Gerard Schwarz, conductor - Aaron Smith prepared chorus
*Emmy-Nominated Broadcast

Dvorak Requiem, 2000
Westminster Symphonic Choir
DELOS Records (Performer)
*Grammy Award Winning Recording

Education


Doctor of Musical Arts
Choral Conducting
State University of New York, Stony Brook

Master of Music (with Highest Honors and Distinction)
Choral Conducting
Westminster Choir College

Bachelor of Music
Choral Music Education / Choral Studies
University of Texas at Austin

Performance Certificate
Vocal Performance
University of Texas at Austin
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