Claude T. Smith

From Wind Repertory Project
Claude T. Smith


Claude Thomas Smith (14 March 1932, Monroe City, Mo. – 13 December 1987, Kansas City, Mo.) was an American composer, conductor, educator and publisher.

Mr. Smith started his musical career playing trumpet in the fifth grade. He attended Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri, until he was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict. Unable to find a position with the service bands as a trumpeter, he auditioned on the French horn and won a position with the 371st Army Band. He finished his undergraduate training at the University of Kansas.

Smith wrote over 180 works for band, orchestra, choir, solos, and small ensembles as well as three method books for band and orchestra. His solos were written for noted artists such as “Doc” Severinsen, Dale Underwood, Brian Bowman, Warren Covington, Gary Foster, Rich Matteson, and Steve Seward. His first band composition was titled World Freedom March. His first published work, Emperata Overture, led to many other works being published by Wingert-Jones. In 1978, he became a composer for Jenson Publications (now Hal Leonard) and the educational consultant for Wingert-Jones.

Smith received numerous prestigious commissions, including works for the U.S. Air Force Band, the "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, the U.S. Navy Band, and the U.S. Army Field Band. His composition Flight was adapted as the official march of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute. His orchestra works include compositions for the Kansas City Youth Symphony, South Bend (Ind.) Young Symphony, Springfield (Mo.) Symphony Orchestra, and the 1981 Missouri All-State String Orchestra.

Smith taught instrumental music in the public schools of Nebraska and Missouri. He also served as a member of the faculty of Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield where he taught composition and theory, and conducted the University Symphony Orchestra. Sacred music was also a deep love of Mr. Smith as he directed a church choirs for five years in Cozad (Neb.), 10 years in Chillicothe (Mo.), and 10 years in Kansas City (Mo.).

Mr. Smith was active as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe. He received many awards for his contributions to music education and for his work in composition, including the ASCAP Composers Award multiple times. Following his death, he was awarded the National Band Association Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts (AWAPA) Award in 1987, honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Central Methodist College (1988), Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Bandmasters Association (1988), Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal (1988), Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Music Educators Association (1992), and named School Director of the Year from the Christian Instrumentalist Directors Association (1994).

Smith was a member of the Music Educators National Conference (now NAfME), Missouri Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, American Bandmasters Association, and served as past president of the Missouri Music Educators Association.

Claude T. Smith Publication, Inc. was founded in 1993 to publish works which had not been released as well as works that have gone out of print.

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