Conductor James Smart has a broad repertoire in wind, orchestral, and opera works and is particularly interested in promoting new music. Mr. Smart is the Director of Bands and Trumpet at the University of Montana where he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, applied trumpet, undergraduate and graduate conducting, and music education courses. Under his direction, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the joint 2010 Western/Northwestern Region College Band Directors National Association Conference in Reno, NV. Dr. Smart is also the founder, producer, and co-conductor of the annual Fusion Concert where over 25 acts showcase the diversity of the UM School of Music in one seamless stream of music.
In September of 2007, Mr. Smart was invited to attend the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Schwaz, Austria and study under the tutelage of conductors, Michael Gielen and Franck Ollu, as well as the musicians of Ensemble Modern. The experience resulted in two public performances with IEMA at the Klangspuren New Music Festival in Schwaz and Innsbruck, Austria.
He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music Education and Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Arizona State University. During his time at ASU he served as acting associate director of bands, acting director of the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, co-music director of the ASU Lyric Opera Theater for the Western U.S. premier run of Joseph Turrin’s Scarecrow, and guest conductor on several occasions with the ASU Sinfonietta Orchestra. Mr. Smart’s conducting teachers include Gary Hill, William Reber, H. Robert Reynolds, Timothy Russell, Kevin Sedatole, and James Tapia. He has continued his conducting studies in workshops with Michael Christie, Michael Gielen, William Larue Jones, Kenneth Kiesler, Craig Kirchhoff, Allan McMurray, and Franck Ollu.
Before coming to ASU to pursue his doctorate, he was Director of Bands and Brass Studies at Southern Utah University and Assistant Conductor/principal trumpet of the Orchestra of Southern Utah. While at SUU, Mr. Smart conducted the Symphony Band, brass ensemble, and athletic bands, and taught classes in advanced conducting, applied brass, and music education methods. In April of 2006, Mr. Smart conducted the SUU Wind Symphony in the world premier of Raag Mala: the music of India through Western ears by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Michael Colgrass. Mr. Smart organized the fully funded commission and composer residency.
Dr. Smart is in demand as a conductor and clinician having performed/presented in Austria, Arizona, Canada, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Utah. He has also presented at several state MENC affiliate conventions as well as the 2011 CBDNA National Convention in Seattle. Other conducting experiences include the International Ensemble Modern Academy (Schwaz, Austria), Conductors Retreat at Medomak (Washington, ME), the International Workshop for Orchestral Conducting (Graz, Austria), and the Band Conductors Art Symposium (Ann Arbor, MI). Dr. Smart taught public school in Lapeer, MI, where his ensembles consistently received superior ratings at both district and state band festivals.
A native of Coeur d’Alene, ID, Dr. Smart is thrilled to return to the Inland Northwest. He, his wife Amy, son Benjamin, and daughter Natalie live in Missoula.
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