Claude T. Smith was born in Monroe City, Missouri. He received his undergraduate training at Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri and at the University of Kansas. He composed extensively in the areas of instrumental and choral music and his compositions have been performed by leading musical organizations throughout the world. Having over 110 band works, 12 orchestra works and 15 choral works, he composed solos for such artists as “Doc” Severinsen, Dale Underwood, Brian Bowman, Warren Covington, Gary Foster, Rich Matteson and Steve Seward. Mr. Smith taught instrumental music in the public schools of Nebraska and Missouri.
He also served as a member of the faculty of Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he taught composition and theory and conducted the University Symphony Orchestra. Sacred music was also a deep love of Mr. Smith’s as he directed a church choir for 5 years in Cozad, Nebraska, 10 years in Chillicothe, Missouri and nine years in Kansas City, MO.
Smith’s first band composition was entitled “World Freedom”. His first published work, “Emperata” was published in 1964 by Wingert-Jones Music Inc., Kansas City, MO. This led to many other works being published by Wingert-Jones. In 1978, he also became a staff composer for Jenson Publications (currently Hal Leonard) and the educational consultant for Wingert-Jones. Claude T. Smith Publications, Inc. was founded in 1993 to publish works of Smith’s which had not yet been released and works that had gone out of print.
Smith received numerous prestigious commissions including works for the U. S. Air Force Band, the “President’s Own” U. S. Marine Band, the U. S. Navy Band, and the Army Field Band. His composition “Flight” was adapted as the “Official March” of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute. His orchestra works include compositions for the Kansas City Youth Symphony, the South Bend Young Symphony, the Springfield MO Symphony and the 1981 Missouri All-State String Orchestra.
Claude T. Smith was active as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States, Australia, Canada and Europe. He received many awards for his contributions to music education and for his work in composition. He had been a constant recipient of the A. S. C. A. P. Composer’s Award. Following his death, he was awarded the National Band Association Award (A. W. A. P. A.) Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts in 1988; an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Central Methodist College in 1988, the Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Bandmaster’s Association in 1988, the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award in 1989, the Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Music Educators Association in 1992 and was awarded as School Director of the Year from the Christian Instrumentalists Directors Association in 1994.
Mr. Smith was a member of the Music Educators National Conference, member and past-president of the Missouri Music Educators Association, National Bandmasters Association and the American Bandmaster’s Association.
Mr. Smith passed away on December 13, 1987 in Kansas City, Mo. He had just completed conducting a Christmas Concert at his church. He was survived by his wife, Maureen Faye Smith and his daughter, Pam Smith Kelly. Maureen, Pam and her husband, Jim, founded Claude T. Smith Publications, Inc. in 1993 with the purpose of keeping the music and legacy of Claude T. Smith alive in the hearts of musicians world-wide.