Friday, June 29, 2012

Innovative Composer Hale Smith (1925-2009) Was Born June 29

The page on the late Hale Smith, who was born June 29, 1925, was made possible by research generously provided by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, He also compiled the complete Works List featured at

Regarding the role Hale Smith played in American music, The New York Times put it well when it titled his obituary of November 27, 2009: “Hale Smith, Who Broke Borders of Classical and Jazz, Is Dead at 84.”

“Hale Smith (1925-2009), a classical composer who also worked as a performer and arranger with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Chico Hamilton, died Tuesday at his home in Freeport, L.I. The noted composer and longtime friend of Smith, T.J. Anderson, reflects on the life of Hale Smith in New Music Box. Hale Smith was a member of the American Composers Alliance from 1958 to 1995. He served on its Board of Governors from 1966 to 1972.” T.J. Anderson began his memorial of November 30, 2009 with these words: “On November 24, 2009, America lost Hale Smith, one of its most important composers. His works musically intertwined the dialectic between African American identity and European traditions.”

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presented “An Evening of Music by Hale Smith” on May 17, 2010. Laura Rivera wrote in Newsday that day: “Smith's wife, Juanita, 82, selected music for the program and invited Smith's former students and colleagues to perform. Violinist Sanford Allen, 71, a friend and collaborator of Smith's since the 1950s and the first African-American member of the New York Philharmonic, said that while Smith was outspoken about his theories on music and life, 'he was a man who was open to other points of view.' Smith even acknowledged preferring Allen's approach to one of Smith's own compositions, 'Epicedial Variations.'”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As his youngest son I can say unequivocally that Composer Hale Smith was without equal as an Artist, husband, and father. He was the most brilliant and most decent man I have ever met or ever hope to meet. America and the Arts rightly mourns the passing of this magnificent man; he was to put it simply quite irreplaceable. Yet to me he was in the end just my Pop, my Old Geezer. He was my confident and my best friend. He will be forever missed and forever cherished in my heart.

Eric Smith