367 Ryder Hall

Ronald Bruce Smith, PhD

Associate Professor, Music Technology

Ronald Bruce Smith is a composer whose works incorporate both acoustic instruments and electronics. Many of his works share a contemplative character, a preoccupation with enhancing the resonance of a given ensemble, and an openness to new sound sources.

Smith’s music has been described as “fresh and lustrous” (The New York Times); “seductive and unique” (Ottawa Citizen); “filling in silences blank canvas with the delicacy of an impressionist’s brush” (Vancouver Sun); “wonderfully evocative”; and “intriguing, lovely and seductive” (San Francisco Chronicle); “a highly charged sonic space, fresh and enigmatic” (Los Angeles Times); “sophisticated and ambitious – fascinating and satisfying” (San Francisco Classical Voice); and as “showing a remarkable sensitivity to tone colors” (Toronto Globe and Mail).

He has received commissions funded by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Manhattan School of Music, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and CNMAT, University of California, Berkeley. Performers of his works include guitarist David Tanenbaum, pianist Vicki Chow, clarinetist Laura Carmichael, the Arraymusic Ensemble, California E.A.R. Unit, Cikada, Columbia Sinfonietta, Continuum Ensemble (Toronto), Del Sol String Quartet, Earplay, New Music Concerts Ensemble (Toronto), Pierrot Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Vancouver New Music Ensemble, Verge Ensemble, Xanthos Ensemble, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He has been a featured composer at Other Minds 12 in San Francisco, the Festival of the Sound, Open Ears and the Banff Festival of the Arts.

Continuum, Arraymusic, the Del Sol String Quartet, Stenberg/Zimmermann Duo, Laura Carmichael and the Evergreen Club Gamelan have recorded his music to CDs on Other Minds Records, Karnatic Labs Records and Artifact Music.

RONALD BRUCE SMITH studied composition at the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of California at Berkeley from which he received the Ph.D. in music. He has also studied at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau and at IRCAM in Paris, France. He has held residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at STEIM in Amsterdam, NL. His principal composition teachers include Tristan Murail, Bruce Mather, Richard Felciano and Talivaldis Kenins. He has studied computer music and synthesis with David Wessel and he has been a visiting composer at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Smith has taught at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford University. He is currently an associate professor of music at Northeastern University in Boston.

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