Philip Smith, the Prokasy Professor in the Arts in the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music, helps students experience the joy of music and also to realize the importance of persevering and honing their skills to a high standard.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I attended The Juilliard School, earning a Bachelor and Master of Music. I am one of two trumpet professors at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. I am honored to hold the title of the William F. and Pamela P. Prokasy Professor in the Arts. In addition to teaching one-on-one trumpet lessons, I co-teach in a masterclass environment that Dr. Craswell and I call Trumpet Studio. In this class, the entire trumpet studio meets to engage in the learning of trumpet players and trumpet history, as well to perform for each other. The students are required to perform every other week in a solo presentation. I also teach an orchestral repertoire class for the graduate students. I am the musical coach of the Bulldog Brass Society TA quintet, a group that not only performs on campus, but also performs concerts, masterclasses and recitals throughout the Southeast. One of the unexpected opportunities has been to re-establish and conduct the UGA British Brass Band, a 30-piece group that just last April placed third in the First Division of the North American Brass Band Association Championship.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I was invited to come to UGA following my retirement in 2014 from my trumpet performing career. A year into my master’s degree, I won the 4th Trumpet chair with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing with them for three and a half years. Following that, I won the audition with the New York Philharmonic as Principal Trumpet, a job I held for 36 years.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I enjoy working both individually and corporately with my trumpet students as well as the other brass students in my ensembles. This gives me a chance to get to know them all on a personal basis, as well as to watch them grow both musically and personally.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
- Taking the British Brass Band to the North American Brass Band Association Championship in Fort Wayne, Indiana (see above).
- Taking the Bulldog Brass Society to the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky, where they were a featured quintet.
- Being invited to join Dean Dorsey as a guest in the Franklin College skybox on two occasions … Go Dawgs!
How do you describe the scope and impact of your research or scholarship to people outside of your field?
I have been blessed in having a career as principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic for 36 years. I have played concerts both nationally and internationally in the great music centers of the world, sharing the stage with wonderful colleagues, superb soloists and famous conductors. I am now blessed to share this experience with the young musicians here at UGA, and encourage them in the pursuit of their dreams.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope they see the joy of music, but also realize the importance of persevering and honing their skills to a high standard.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
- Share my gifts and the excitement of music with musicians of all ages around the world, including conducting the NY Philharmonic Brass and Percussion on two annual “Holiday Brass Concerts,” with a third occasion coming this December. I have also just returned from conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Brass and Percussion, with an invitation to return. I have also adjudicated numerous international solo competitions in the past couple of years.
- I like to spend time with my wife and family and especially my two grandkids (a new one on the way)!
- Enjoy the Jersey Shore!
- Love being involved with my church family.
Community/civic involvement includes….
- My wife and I have been involved in the music ministry of the Salvation Army in both Atlanta and the New York/New Jersey area.
- My wife has been involved in arranging concerts by Hugh Hodgson School of Music students and faculty at Talmadge Terrace/Lanier Gardens in Athens and Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville.
- The UGA British Brass Band has been involved in performing for students at the Oconee County Civic Center, on the concert series of Greensboro Festival Hall, and at the Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters Christmas Open House in Atlanta.
- The Bulldog Brass Society has performed with me as soloist at the Athens Farmers Market, the Lyndon House Art Center, the Lenbrook community in Atlanta, and at a composer forum at the Salvation Army headquarters in Atlanta.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
- The Bible and any books relating to it concerning study, prophecy and enrichment.
- The movie “War Room.” I highly recommend seeing it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks also to Dr. Dale Monson for inviting me to be a part of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music faculty. Thank you to my HHSOM colleagues for their support.
(Originally published on Nov. 5, 2017)