In a Fanfare Magazine review of Richard Jordan Smoot’s orchestral recording, Hauntings, Phillip Scott said: “Richard Jordan Smoot’s orchestral music is very strong: there is an intensity and muscularity about it… barely a moment goes by where there is not something at stake. Take for example, the Overture to Faust, J.D.: nervous rhythms with a hint of jazz/rock about them urge the piece forward, while the snatches of solo violin (representing Mephistopheles) are menacing in their attack. A terrific piece!”
Richard Jordan Smoot was born in Missouri and grew up in Connecticut where he began his musical studies. He studied composition with Thomas Wells and Elliott Schwartz, receiving his doctorate in 1986 from The Ohio State University. Smoot was a Presidential Fellow working in the combined areas of composition, computer music and music perception while at Ohio State. In 1991, he was a Resident Associate at the Atlantic Center for the Arts where he worked with the Russian composer, Rodion Shchedrin. Smoot’s compositions have been performed and broadcast many times throughout the world. Performance venues have ranged from Lincoln Center, The Downtown Arts Festival in New York City and the ESPN-II sports network to the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. His catalog includes over a dozen orchestral and large ensemble works, as well as numerous chamber, vocal, electronic and solo compositions.
Smoot, a classical guitarist, has composed many works for his instrument along with many compositions for other musical genres. In June 2004, The Moravian Philharmonic presented a concert featuring six of Smoot’s orchestral works, followed by the release of his orchestral recording in August, 2005. In September, 2006, his Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, featuring Richard Stoltzman, was recorded and is scheduled for release on an all-Smoot chamber music recording in the near future. In February, 2007, Street Songs was presented by mezzo-soprano, Sarah Smoot at the Ohio State University Contemporary Music Festival and in March, 2007, Smoot’s orchestral work, SKY for orchestra, was premiered by the Minnesota Sinfonia in Minneapolis, Jay Fishman conducting. Smoot’s Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano was premiered by Richard Stoltzman and the Marble Cliff Chamber Players in June, 2007 at the Marble Cliff Chamber Festival. In April, 2008, Smoot’s Vocalise for mezzo-soprano (Sarah Smoot) and guitar ensemble was premiered at Charleston Southern University as part of a residency. His Chamber Concerto for guitar and wind ensemble was presented by Christopher Teves and the CSU Wind Ensemble during this event also.
Seize The Day for string quartet was premeired by Carpe Diem String Quartet in March, 2010 and subsequently presented at the Snake River Music Festival in Dillon, CO by this group. In January, 2011, this work was recorded by Carpe Diem for release on Smoot’s forthcoming chamber music CD featuring all quartets.
In May, 2012, Smoot’s Khabiri Quartet for string quartet was premiered by Carpe Diem String Quartet as part of the three day festival, A Persian Musical Feast. The recording of this work in January, 2014 will complete the CD project of new quartets.
SKY 2 for carillon was premiered in December, 2012 and will be released on a forthcoming recording.
Smoot’s works are recorded and published by Acoma Company of Toronto, Canada and by his own company, Sound Endeavors LLC, Columbus, Ohio and can be purchased at CD Baby and ITunes. Smoot has received financial support for his work from many sources, including the Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Program, the American Music Center, Ohio Northern University, Charleston Southern University, Meet The Composer and the Johnstone Fund for New Music. He is a member of Broadcast Music, Inc., the American Music Center, and the American Composers Forum. As well, he has worked as a consultant in the music technology field and has served as an arts council adjudicator. Smoot was an Associate Professor at Ohio Northern University and a Visiting Instructor at The Ohio State University. Smoot created program notes and gave pre-concert lectures for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in the late 1980s.