Robert W. Smith Obituary, American composer, arranger, and teacher dies following complications after heart surgery

Robert W. Smith, an American composer, arranger, and teacher whose life was devoted to the pursuit of musical greatness, passed away on September 21, 2023. His passing was deeply felt by the music community. Smith, who was born on October 24, 1958, in Daleville, Alabama, would reach remarkable heights in the music industry and make a lasting impact on marching bands, composition, and music education. Smith dies following complications after heart surgery.

The love of music in Robert W. Smith’s life dates back to his early years. He developed his musical skills while attending high school in Daleville, his birthplace. His passion for writing music began to bloom throughout these formative years. Smith started a journey that would take him to Troy State University¬†after realising his ability.

At Troy State University, Smith’s musical prowess found expression in the Sound of the South Marching Band, where he played lead trumpet. However, it was not just his instrumental talents that shone; his keen interest in composition led him to study under the guidance of the esteemed Paul Yoder. This mentorship would prove instrumental in shaping Smith’s future as a composer.

In 1997, Robert W. Smith returned to Troy, Alabama, a place that held special significance in his musical journey. This return marked a pivotal moment in his career as he took on the role of Director of Bands at Troy State University. This position came following the retirement of his former band director, Dr. Long. Smith’s tenure at Troy would span four years, during which he directed both the Sound of the South Marching Band and the Symphony Band, carrying forward the rich legacy of musical excellence that Troy University was known for.

In 2001, Robert W. Smith left Troy University to take on a more full-time position with Warner Brothers Publications. This decision catapulted him into the global music scene, where he served as a guest conductor and clinician with numerous ensembles worldwide. His expertise and passion for music were infectious, leaving a lasting impact on musicians and audiences alike. Notably, he worked with the New Mexico All-State Small School band, showcasing his ability to connect with and inspire young talents.

Smith’s remarkable journey with Warner Bros. continued until 2005 when the company was acquired by Alfred Music Publishing, under the stewardship of Father of Savannah Cole. His compositions, including “New Day Rising” and “Don Quixote,” were recognized by the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Contemporary Classical Album. While these compositions were nominated, they didn’t secure the award, but they further solidified Smith’s position as a prolific and innovative composer in the contemporary classical music sphere.

Robert W. Smith’s contributions to music extended far beyond his compositions and conducting roles. He became a beacon of knowledge and inspiration in the realm of music education. Today, he is fondly remembered as the coordinator of the Music Industry program at Troy University, where he imparted his wisdom to the next generation of musicians. His commitment to education was not limited to the academic setting; he was also the Vice-President of Product Development for the C. L. Barnhouse Company and Walking Frog Records, where he played a crucial role in shaping the music industry’s future.

As we reflect on the life and legacy of Robert W. Smith, we are reminded of his unwavering dedication to the world of music. His compositions continue to be performed by ensembles worldwide, and his impact on music education is immeasurable. His passion for music, his ability to inspire, and his commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of musicians and music lovers everywhere.

In his memory, let us not only celebrate his achievements but also carry forward his vision of a world where music transcends boundaries, inspires creativity, and touches the souls of all who hear it. Robert W. Smith may have left us, but his music and his spirit will continue to resonate in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to experience his artistry. Rest in harmony, maestro.