Michael Smith

Michael Smith portrait
Professor of Music
Low Brass

Office: Jenson-Noble 166

Phone: 563-387-1179

Email: smitmi01@luther.edu


Education: D.M.A., Trombone Performance and Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.M.E., McNeese State University; B.M., Trombone Performance, Stephen F. Austin State University

Dr. Michael Smith is currently Professor of Music (Trombone and Low Brass) at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he teaches low brass, low brass methods, coaches small brass ensembles, and conducts the Luther College Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and the Luther College Trombone Choir. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, a Master of Music Education from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a doctorate in Trombone Performance and Literature with a minor in Music Theory from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His awards from the University of Illinois include the Robert Gray Trombone Award, the Albert A. Harding Award, and the Mark H. Hindsley Award. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Alpha Chi, and Phi Kappa Phi.

vPrior to his appointment at Luther College, Dr. Smith taught at Millikin University, Knox College, and at the University of Illinois as the head teaching assistant in the trombone studio from 1996-1999. 

He has taught and performed at the Illinois Summer Youth Music Trombone Camps at the University of Illinois, the Georgia Honors Low Brass Choir at Valdosta State University, the Illinois Honors Trombone Choir (in Chicago and Champaign-Urbana), and was the co-founder and conductor of the University of Illinois High School Laboratory Trombone Choir. He has also taught at the Luther College Band Festivals and Luther College Summer Dorian Camps for more than 20 years.

Dr. Smith currently has more than 50 published works, which include both arrangements and original works for trombone choir, brass choir, tuba-euphonium ensemble, brass quintet, and bass trombone.  

He has performed at the 1997 International Trombone Festival at the University of Illinois and presented at 2018 International Trombone Festival at the University of Iowa.

In 2020, Dr. Smith was joined by one of his former Luther College students, Dr. Benjamin Yates ‚Äė08, currently Associate Professor of Music (Low Brass) at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, for a series of virtual masterclasses and performances presented at the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, University of Illinois, and Louisiana State University, among other institutions.¬†

In January 2023, Dr. Smith was a guest artist and clinician at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica (National Conservatory of Music), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.   

His current performance project (2023-2024) includes a series of multimedia lecture recitals titled The Evolution of Low Brass and Electronics, that outlines the earliest use of low brass instruments with electronically-generated accompaniment. Also discussed is the history and development of the Moog Synthesizer in the mid-1960s, which was a direct catalyst for the rise of electronic music studios in the U.S. and Canada.  This multimedia recital series includes performances of some of the newest works for low brass and electronics, which will be performed on alto, tenor, and bass trombones, and euphonium. Current performance locations include: Luther College (IA), St. Cloud State (MN), St. Norbert College (WI), University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, Northwestern State University (LA), University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and McNeese State University (LA). 

Dr. Smith has also created the MKS Cutaway Mouthpiece, a unique diagnostic tool for brass players.  His company can be found online at MKSCutaway.com.  

Dr. Smith is also currently working with his colleague, Dr. Tony Guzman (Luther), to create a teaching project through Luther College to provide band and orchestra instruments to the underserved communities in the Dominican Republic.  

Dr. Smith has served as the principal trombonist with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony under the baton of James F. Keene. As a member of the Illinois Wind Symphony, Dr. Smith went on tour to Great Britain and was also a soloist with the ensemble. He was also a soloist and made two U. S. tours with the University of Illinois Trombone Choir. He has performed with the Longview Symphony Orchestra (TX), Rapides Symphony Orchestra (LA), Lake Charles Symphony (LA), Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera (IL), Decatur Symphony (IL), Danville Symphony (IL), Champaign-Urbana Symphony (IL), the Rochester Symphony Orchestra Рprincipal trombone (MN), Dorian Opera Theatre Orchestra (IA), the Dubuque Symphony (IA), Cedar Falls-Waterloo Symphony (IA), and the Cedar Rapids Symphony (IA).  He is currently the bass trombonist with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra (MN), a position he has held since 2007.  His teachers include J. Mark Thompson, William Rose, Nathaniel Brickens, and Elliot Chasanov.

A Multimedia Lecture Recital:
The Evolution of Low Brass and Electronics

Program: The Origins of the Electronic Synthesizer

Low Brass and Electronics: The First Significant Works

The Robots are Taking Over (2020)                    Brooke Pierson
euphonium and electronics

Nightwalker (2022)                                                Logan Jungman
bass trombone and electronics

2.5 2  (2023)                                                           Brooke Joyce
alto trombone and electronics

Flow (2016)                                                             Benjamin Taylor     
euphonium and electronics

Scream (2020)                                                        Adam Dippre
tenor trombone and electronics

Necroterror (2019)                                                 Ian Lester
euphonium and electronics

Action Sonata (2009)                                            Brian Sadler
bass trombone and electronics

MUS 130, 230, 330, 430: Private Instruction: Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

For music majors in varied years of study. Non-majors and music majors in their secondary areas may register for these courses with consent of instructor. Studio seminars may be required. Additional fees will be assessed for these courses.

EDUC 260: Brass Methods 

Methods and materials of teaching double reed instruments to elementary and secondary students. Includes knowledge of and proficiency on double reed instruments, pedagogy, materials, assessment and grading for individual and small group studio lessons. Required for instrumental music licensure.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., Doctor of Musical Arts in Trombone Performance and Literature, Minor in Music Theory, 2001

McNeese State University, Lake Charles, La., Master of Music Education, 1996

Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance, cum laude, 1994

Kilgore College, Kilgore, Texas, Attended 1989-1991

Composed by Eugene Bozza
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