The American composer, harpsichordist and liturgical musician, Robert Edward Smith, studied organ with Bronson Ragan at Juilliard School of Music in New York. He studied harpsichord at the Mannes College of Music with Sylvia Marlowe, on scholarships from the Harpsichord Music Society, from 1963 to 1968, receiving B.S. with major in harpsichord in 1968
Robert Edward Smith has written over 100 works of chamber, orchestral, choral, and vocal music for ensembles of all kinds, ranging fromviolin and piano to symphony orchestra. Recent works include six sonatas for unaccompanied viola, two sonatas for violin and piano, a sonata for two violas, 24 preludes and fugues for organ, a sonata for flute, viola and harp, a concerto for trumpet and wind quintet, a sonata for English horn and harp, Pavanne for flute sextet and Variations on an American Folk Tune for symphony orchestra.
Robert Edward Smith's posts as liturgical musician were: Organist at Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ (1963-1965); Director of Music at Wesley United Methodist Church, Bayonne, NJ (1965-1970); Director of Music at Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Elizabeth, NJ (1970-1974); Associate Music Director at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newark, NJ (1974-1977); Organist at econd Church of Christ, Scientist, Hartford, CT (1982-1983); Director of Music at Sacred Heart Church, Wethersfield, CT (1983-1995); Director of Music Ministries at Grace Episcopal Church, Windsor, CT (1998 to present). He has been Composer-in-Residence at Trinity College Chapel since 1979 and taught harpsichord and continuo realization at the Hartt School, Univeristy of Hartford from 1992 to the present. In 2002-2003 he served as Composer in Residence, St. John“s Memorial Chapel at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also been the administrator of the Trinity College Summer Chamber Music Series since 1998. Apart from all these activities, he has also taught composition and harpsichord privately since 1970.
Also a distinguished harpsichordist, Robert Edward Smith is the first person since the 18th century to have performed the complete harpsichord literature of François Couperin. His recording, "J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Music in the Grand Manner" (Wildboar Recordings) was named one of the best recordings of the year by the American Record Guide in 1996.
Robert Edward Smith has been selected to receive an ASCAPlus award for 2006-2007. The awards are available to writer members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by the Society's ASCAPlus Awards Panels. The purpose of the special awards, which have been given each year since 1960, is to reward writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received, and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP.