Stephen Smith, The man behind the name
Stephen Smith was born in the United States and has lived in Switzerland since 1982. His musical path began at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. After finishing studies in organ, conducting and church music in the USA and Switzerland, he studied the baroque and renaissance repertoires intensively. He is particularly interested in historical performance practice and the relationships of early music to contemporary music, which he has explored in hundreds of concerts with the Ensemble Corund Lucerne and the Corund Baroque Orchestra, which he founded in 1993.
Concerts with his ensembles and as a guest conductor have taken him to Spain, Germany, England, Latvia, Romania, Bermuda, the USA and throughout Switzerland. Smith also directs an ambitious music program at the historical St. Matthew’s Church in Lucerne and has been the artistic director of the Corund Concerts series for choral and early music in Lucerne for 25 years. As an innovative presenter of cross-over projects, he has enlivened the Swiss music scene with many «firsts».
«The brilliance of Smith’s interpretation was its dramatic vitality. There was nothing ponderous about the performance, yet the vigor of the rendition never undermined its sense of awe and reverence.»
Chestnut Hill Local
In 2006 he was the initiator and artistic director of a festival commemorating the 20th anniversary of Maurice Duruflé’s death. Unique to Switzerland, the festival presented Duruflé’s complete works for choir, orchestra and organ. In 2013 he directed a 3-month festival – also unique to Switzerland – commemorating Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday, presenting a broad spectrum of Britten’s choral compositions, a cappella and with organ and orchestra.
«Stephen Smith is a conductor who obviously knows his Bach and the traditions of Bach’s performance practices. He also is a conductor who proves that historically correct performance can be highly expressive and musically meaningful. It was a delight to hear Smith and his musicians sing and play with such clarity and balance of polyphonic lines as was evident in this concert.»
During the last years, he has followed invitations as a conductor to Frankfurt (Oder), Pamplona, Riga, Bratislava, Sibiu, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Canterbury, Oxford and Lincoln. He has worked with orchestras and choirs such as Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de Navarra, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Atlanta Baroque Choir & Orchester, Zuger Sinfonietta, Camerata Musica, Transylvanian Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Sibiu State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Oradea State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Magnolia Baroque Festival Choir & Orchestra, La banda antix, Cappricio, Putni, Zürcher Singakademie, etc. For the 2017/18 season Smith has received invitations from Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Musikkollegium Winterthur and Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra., as well as repeat invitations from Oradea State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, and Sibiu State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra.
Stephen Smith regularly prepares his choir, the Ensemble Corund, for conductors such as Douglas Boyd, James Gaffigan, Mario Venzago, Laurence Cummings, Mark Elder, Howard Arman or Douglas Bostock.
Numerous CD and radio recordings are testament to his broad musical interests and activities.