Director of Orchestras, DePauw University
Former Director, Chicago Youth Symphony
American Artistic Director of the International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria
Orcenith Smith is Music Director of the DePauw University Orchestras and Opera. Named “Outstanding Professor of Music” three times at DePauw, he was also named the inaugural recipient of the Cassel Grubb University Professorship in Music, 1999-2003. His has achieved success in both professional and academic settings, his concerts distinguished by passionate interpretations combined with thoughtful and diverse programming. He has conducted nearly 700 performances of orchestral, operatic and choral/orchestral repertoire for which critical acclaim has come both here and abroad. The Chicago Tribune called Smith “a gifted conductor”, able to take an orchestra to “remarkable technical and artistic heights!” In Europe, critics cited his “brilliant achievement”, “perfect temperament,” “sure technique” and that his “music-making was infectious!” He has led the touring DePauw University Chamber Symphony on domestic and international concerts in Japan, Austria, The Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, the Southeastern, Northeast and Midwest United States, and in performances at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
While teaching at DePauw he has held several other artistic posts simultaneously, including the Music Directorship of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, during which time that orchestra rose to national recognition being featured in articles in Musical America and Symphony. In 1998, he was named American Artistic Director of the Vienna International Youth and Music Festival (Jugend und Musik in Wien). He has conducted multiple performances of the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Louisville Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in its New Music Music in Mind sessions, its Family Concert Series and in the unique “Side-by-Side” concert. He has conducted All-State High School Orchestras in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and British Columbia in Canada, at Michigan’s famed Interlochen Center for the Arts and has conducted the West Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Guildhall Orchestra and the BBC Symphony (London) in international competitions; he has also conducted the Dayton Philharmonic, the Lafayette Symphony, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Springfield (OH) Symphony, the Carmel Symphony, and the Orange County (California) Philharmonic Society, many in education-oriented concerts.
His performances have been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, conducting the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Karl Haas’ Adventures in Good Music, conducting David Ott’s Alto Flute Concerto, and conducting the DePauw University Symphony and Choirs on USAirway’s “Ovation” in-flight music programming in music by Grieg, Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky. For his championing of new music, the DePauw University Symphony was awarded a 1991 ASCAP Prize from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for “Adventuresome Programming”.