“Gregg Smith, a choral conductor and composer whose ensemble, the Gregg Smith Singers, established new standards for professional choral singing and championed the work of contemporary American composers in performance and on recordings, died on Tuesday in Bronxville, N.Y. He was 84,” writes William Grimes in Friday’s (7/15) New York Times. “Mr. Smith founded the Gregg Smith Singers in 1955, when he was still a graduate student of music at the University of California, Los Angeles, and led it for more than 50 years.” The Gregg Smith Singers premiered Stravinsky’s “Requiem Canticles” and recorded more than 100 albums, including the complete choral works of Arnold Schoenberg and Elliott Carter and music by Ned Rorem, Charles Ives, William Billings, and Victor Herbert. “To further the cause [of American music], Mr. Smith founded the Adirondack Festival of American Music in 1973.” Born in Chicago, Smith “wrote more than 400 works for chorus, orchestra and chamber ensembles, as well as works for the theater.” Smith directed choral programs at Ithaca College and the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and in 1968 founded the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association, which he led for 40 years.
Posted July 20, 2016