Trained as a classical composer, I have a degree in music theory, but have wide-ranging musical interests, including cross-pollination between cultures and between styles and genres, as well as Western and non-Western classical, popular and folk music, and early music.
Very early on, I conducted orchestral works I had written in performance in several cities, including New Orleans, Minneapolis, and San Antonio. I left music composition and performance for decades, but have in the last few years started actively writing music again—on my iPad—and have completed a trio and a few preludes and fugues for piano, and am slowly working on a short symphonic work.
Currently, I serve on the advisory council of the Van Cliburn Foundation, which presents 3 international piano competitions and several concert series in Texas. My sister, Beverly Blaine Smith and my father, Gordon W. Smith, and I endowed the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work in honor of my mother, who was involved with the Cliburn Competition most of her adult life. The jury of the Cliburn Competition awards this prize for the best performance of the work commissioned for the competition every 4 years.
As with the visual arts, I am interested in music as a universally occurring means in human cultures of conveying meaning without written or spoken language.