Howie Smith

Howie Smith's Biography

Howie Smith's life in music began with his first saxophone lesson at the age of 5. As a saxophonist, he has worked with such diverse musicians, organizations and composers as Lester Bowie, John Cage, the Cleveland Orchestra, Mark Dresser, Mike Nock, Elvis Presley, Clark Terry and the Tone Road Ramblers. Smith's recorded performances range from the big bands of Phil Wilson and Frank Mantooth to the Australian quartet Jazz Co/op to premiere performances of saxophone concertos by David Baker, Salvatore Martirano and Edward Miller. He has presented concerts, workshops and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia.

Smith has taught at the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University and the University of California San Diego. In 1973, he was chosen to set up the first collegiate-level jazz studies program in Australia at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2009, Smith was designated Professor Emeritus at Cleveland State University, where he acted as Coordinator of Jazz Studies from 1979 to 2005 directing the jazz ensembles and teaching saxophone, composition, jazz improvisation and courses in jazz history and the business of music.

His extensive catalogue of compositions includes works for conventional big bands and combos; string, wind, percussion and vocal ensembles; electronics; and mixed media. Between 1980 and 2010, a much-anticipated musical event in Cleveland was his annual "Concert in Progress," each one a presentation of original music ranging from intimate solos and duets to larger ensembles – the largest being an orchestra of 60 saxophones - and what is usually referred to as performance art.

Recordings of Smith's works are available on the Albany Records, EMI Music Australia, Einstein Records, New World Records, Optimism, Philips Phonogram, Polydor and Sea Breeze Records labels, and his music for jazz ensembles is available through Doug Beach/Kjos, Kendor Music and Otama Music.

He has received multiple Fulbright grants, was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize for Music in 1985 and has been the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council on a number of different occasions. He received the Cleveland Jazz Legend Award at the Tri-C JazzFest in 2009, and in 2012 was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Cleveland's Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

Smith holds music degrees from Ithaca College and the University of Illinois and has twice served as co-chair of both the Jazz Fellowship and Music Overview panels for the National Endowment of the Arts. He has been associated with Yamaha as an artist/clinician since 1971.

Howie Smith's Gear
Howie Smith

Gear List

YSS-62 YAS-62 YTS-62