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Gary L Smart

Professor | Presidential Professor

Music | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Piano, Music Composition,  Improvisation


Yale University 1974-76 DMA 1979
Hochschule fur Musik
Cologne (Germany) 1970
Indiana University 1967-69 M Mus 1969 
Indiana University 1962-67 B Mus 1967 


Gary Smart's career has encompassed a wide range of activities as composer, classical and jazz pianist, and teacher. Always a musician with varied interests, he may be the only pianist to have studied with Yale scholar/keyboardist Ralph Kirkpatrick, the great Cuban virtuoso Jorge Bolet, and the master jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. A true American pluralist, Dr. Smart composes and improvises a music that reflects an abiding interest in Americana, jazz, and world musics, as well as the Western classical tradition.


Smart’s work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Music Educator's National Conference, the Music Teacher's National Association and the National Endowment for the Arts. Smart’s music has been performed in major venues in the US, including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as venues in Europe and Asia. His "Concordia" for orchestra won the Concordia jazz composition award and was premiered at Lincoln Center, New York.


Smart's compositions are published by Margun Music (G. Schirmer) and his work has been recorded on the Mastersound, Capstone and Albany labels. His CD’s “The Major’s Letter”, which features his songs for voice and piano, “American Beauty – a ragtime bouquet”, “Hot Sonatas”, a collection of jazz-influenced chamber music,  “Turtle Dreams of Flight“, original music for solo piano performed by the composer, and "Blossoms", a recording of solo piano improvisations, have all been released recently by Albany Records. His “Song of the Holy Ground” for string quartet and piano won the 2008 John Donald Robb Musical Trust Composers’ Competition and was premiered at the 2009 Robb Composers’ Symposium at the University of New Mexico.


Dr. Smart has spent two residencies in Japan, teaching in programs at Osaka University and Kobe College. He has also taught in Indonesia as "Distinguished Lecturer in Jazz" under the auspices of the Fulbright program. From 1999-2003, he served as Chairman of the UNF Music Department. Gary Smart is currently a Presidential Professor of Music at the University of North Florida.


Presidential Professor of Music, Univ. of North Florida, 2010
2009 Winner - John Donald Robb Musical Trust Third Biennial Composers’ Competition for his "Song of the Holy Ground" for piano and string quartet.
Terry Presidential Professor, Iniv. of North Florida, 2006-2010
Yessin Professorship, Univ. of North Florida, 2003-2005
1992 Winner - Composer's Competition, Percussive Arts Society
President's Award, Univ. of Wyoming, 1991
1988 Winner - Concordia Composer's Competition, New York orchestral premiere, Lincoln Center, N.Y.
John Day Jackson Composition Prize, Yale University, 1976
Greenwald Composition Prize, Yale University, 1975
Horatio Parker Memorial Fellowship, Yale University, 1975
DAAD (German government) study grant, 1970
Composition Prize, Young Musicians Foundation of Los Angeles, 1970
Leonard Bernstein Fellowship, Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood, Mass., 1969


College Music Society

American Composers Forum

Grants and Contracts Awarded

Private commission, Ruxandra Marquardt, violinist “Violin Sonata” 2010
Private commission, Florida Trio, “Bright Eyed Fancy” 2008
Artist Fellowship, Department of Education, State of Florida 2005
(Music Composition)
Featured composer, improvisor, Festival of New Music, East
Carolina University, Greenville, NC 2003/2004
University of North Florida-Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
commission, “Alleluias” for orchestra 2002
Delius Foundation of Florida commission, “Mr. Delius’ Fancy” 2000
Wyoming Council on the Arts commission,
“Mandela” -concerto for clarinet and large orchestra 1999
Wyoming Council on the Arts, Performing Arts Fellowship
(Music Improvisation) 1994
Fulbright program, “Distinguished Lecturer”, Indonesia 1992
Wyoming Council on the Arts, Performing Arts Fellowship
(Music Composition) 1990
Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 1984-5
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 1980
Connecticut Commission on the Arts Artist Grant 1977
Alaska Council on the Arts Bicentennial Commission 1976
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 1975
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 1974
Contemporary Music Project Residency (Ford Foundation-Music
Educators National Conference), Anchorage, Alaska 1971-

Publications & Presentations

Concordia for orchestra Margun Music (Schirmer)
Del Diario de un Papagayo for tape recorded
parrot and chamber orchestra Margun Music (Schirmer)
Fancy for violin and piano Margun Music (Schirmer)
Sonnette for piano solo Margun Music (Schirmer)
Sweet Fancies for oboe and piano Margun Music (Schirmer)
Sonata in Fancy for cello and piano Margun Music (Schirmer)
Sonata in Fancy for vibraphone and piano Margun Music (Schirmer)
Three Bad Moods for violin and marimba Margun Music (Schirmer)
The Bell Rag for piano solo Margun Music (Schirmer)
Trumpeter Swan for trumpet and string quartet,
           recorded on “Fantasia”, CD,
          (Britt Theurer, trumpet) Capstone 1992
"Bright Morning Stars are Rising", CD, piano solo and small group improvisations                                                                                                                                                                                  based on hymns from various world cultures and traditions (private release) 1997

"In Black and White", solo piano CD Mastersound 1998
"Beatle Jazz", small group jazz CD Mastersound 1998
"The Major’s Letter", CD -five original solo song cycles,
    sung by four singers with G. S. at the piano - Albany Records 2005
"American Beauty - a Ragtime Bouquet, CD -
    a collection of original and standard ragtime works,
    G. S. composer-pianist - Albany Records 2008
"Hot Sonatas", CD - three “third-stream” duo sonatas - Albany Records 2009
"Turtle Dreams of Flight", CD – Piano Sonatas - Albany Records 2010                                                                       "Blossoms", CD - abstract improvisations for for solo piano - Albany Records 2012

Contact Information

Building 45, Room 2407

(904) 620-3856