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People  •  Music  •  Ensemble Director, Part-Time Lecturer

Joel LaRue Smith

Touring extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia , Central America and the Caribbean, Joel LaRue Smith has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Whitney Museum in New York; The White House; Symphony Hall in San Francisco and Boston; The Royal Albert Hall in London; Multi-Cultural Festivals; and various noted jazz clubs like the Blue Note and The Village Gate in New York City. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic at the Apollo Theatre in New York, The Toledo Symphony, The French National Orchestra, Mario Bauza, Kenny Burrell, Junior Cook and Wayne Andre. In 1993 a World Premiere of Joel’s original compositions were featured in Siena, Italy. Tours for 2010 included the Guatemala Jazz Festival, The Hellinic Music Festival in Athens Greece, and various Jazz Clubs in the Czech Republic.

Joel is a recipient of the 2019 Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation, the 2017 Artist Fellowship and Finalist Awards in Music Composition from the Massachusetts Council of the Arts, six Meet the Composer grants, a grand prizewinner for the grant in musical composition from the Queens Council for the Arts, and has won the distinguished George and Ira Gershwin Award from ASCAP.

In December 2020, Joel scored the music for a documentary film on the Royall House Mansion and Slave Quarters in Medford, Massachusetts.

Smith has toured extensively, performing Jazz, Classical and Afro Cuban repertoire in concert halls, Jazz clubs and music festivals throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. His debut CD, “September’s Child”, features seven original Afro-Cuban Jazz compositions.

His March 2017 CD, “Motorman’s Son” was described by Downbeat Magazine “as a vibrant, powerful and hard-grooving release”.

“Stylistic authenticity is my reason for close attention to details concerning rhythm. When writing Afro Latin music, I am aware that all dance forms are comprised of very specific rhythms.”



  • Master of Music Degree, Manhattan School of Music
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, City College of New York