Piano • Bassoon
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Daniel Smith was one of the world's most prominent bassoon soloists. He was a versatile musician, recording most of the standard classical bassoon repertoire as well as new music and jazz.
Smith was born on September 11, 1939, in New York. He originally studied clarinet and flute at the Manhattan School of Music before taking up the bassoon. He went on for further studies at Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music. Early in his career, he performed in orchestras and focused on the classical repertoire. Smith was the first bassoonist to record all 37 Vivaldi bassoon concertos, in recordings made with the English Chamber Orchestra and I Solisti di Zagreb for the ASV label. His Vivaldi set was selected as the Best Concerto Recording of the Year by the Music Industry Association, awarded the Penguin Guide's rosette rating, and was included in Fanfare's annual "Want List." Smith also recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Caravaggio Ensemble. Smith was noted for his support of the creation of new concerti for bassoon. He gave the U.S. West Coast premiere of Gunther Schuller's Concerto for Contrabassoon and Orchestra and the world premiere of Steve Gray's Jazz Suite for Bassoon with the Welsh Chamber Orchestra. Smith performed solo recitals at New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Recital Hall, Wigmore Hall, the BBC Concert Hall, and the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen.
Smith transitioned into recording jazz and crossover in the 1990s. His first ventures into crossover were Bassoon Bon Bons (1991) and Bravo Bassoon (1994). He followed these up with several well-received jazz albums, Bebop Bassoon (2006) and the Swingin' Bassoon (2007). His final albums include Bassoon Goes Latin Jazz (2011), Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues (2014), and Jazz Suite for Bassoon (2015). Throughout his career, he recorded for ASV, Zah Zah, and Summit. Smith died in Brooklyn on December 15, 2015.