Stephen directs the Choir, Orchestra, and all musical programs and events presented by the Music and Performing Arts Committee, as well as oversees the Jazz Ensemble.
Those of us who have seen Stephen in action, know that he comes to us with amazing talent. I have always been fascinated by him and wanted to know more about his background and who he really is as a person, so I asked him to submit to the following interview.
Stephen Michael Smith has served as Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock since 1999, where he established The Orchestra at Shelter Rock in 2007. Recognized for his ability to communicate his infectious passion for music to fellow musicians and audiences alike, he currently also serves as Music Director of Symphonic Pops of Long Island and Danbury Community Orchestra.
Mr. Smith has performed throughout the US, Russia, and Europe. He was chosen twice to participate in the International Northern Baltic Festival at the Hermitage Theatre of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. He appeared on PBS in “Articulate with Jim Cotter” nationally and in Europe featuring the world premiere performance of Gerald Busby’s Concerto for Orchestra and Piano with The Orchestra at Shelter Rock. Maestro Smith is a champion of new works, conducting world premieres of orchestral, choral, and chamber music works.
During his tenures as Music Director/Conductor of the Shrewsbury Chorale (NJ) and the Dalton Alumni Chorale (New York City), Mr. Smith prepared both institutions for their Carnegie Hall debuts with New York Grand Opera.
Maestro Smith received his first professional appointment at the age of 11. He studied orchestral and opera conducting with Vincent La Selva at The Juilliard School in New York City, and coached privately with Mariusz Smolij (Northwestern University) and with Alexander Polishchuck (N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, Russia). His primary training as an organist was under the tutelage of the renowned concert organist, Claire Coci.
Mr. Smith has taught at the University of Hawaii, Hartwick College, and the American Academy of Music. He previously held the positions of Executive Director of the San Francisco Opera Guild, Development Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Interim Director of the Merola Opera Program and Consultant with the University of California at San Francisco, The Wolf Trap Institute for the Arts, and Opera Southwest.