School of Dance
Daniel Smith is an American composer, pianist, conductor, and educator distinguished by his extensive collaborations with preeminent dance institutions and choreographers. Mr. Smith’s works have been performed by artists and ensembles around the world. Recent highlights include an exclusive 2022 joint concert with Morgan James (Broadway star and vocalist with Postmodern Jukebox), his composition for piano and cello, Roses in December, which was premiered by Mr. Smith and composer/cellist Logan Castro in May 2019 at The Kennedy Center, Welliver Variation, which toured internationally as part of the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 2018 season, and the film score to SEALEGS (2019), a screendance that has screened at numerous iconic venues, such as the Cyprus International Film Festival, the Tipperary Dance Platform, and the Astoria Film Festival.
Mr. Smith continues an active career as a performer of both classical and jazz repertoire. He was piano soloist for The Suzanne Farrell Ballet’s Final Season Opening Gala, performing Chaconne choreographed by George Balanchine. He has performed with many notable musicians, such as Kristin Chenoweth (Emmy Award and Tony Award winner), The Manhattan Transfer (10-time Grammy Award winner), Sharon Isbin (multi-Grammy Award winner), and Mary Wilson of The Supremes. He is a strong proponent of new music and has given world premieres and U.S. premieres of works by Nico Muhly, Dave Brubeck, Chris Brubeck, and Dorothy Hindman, among others. As a conductor, Mr. Smith has been deemed “nuanced, detailed, and insightful.” He made his Carnegie Hall debut as a conductor in 2005. The 2018 debut performance of In a Sleepier Century, a ballet by FSU alumnus Isaac Barzso, was led under his baton.
Mr. Smith serves as a musician for dance technique classes, having accompanied more than 4,000 ballet and contemporary dance classes. He has presented lectures on dance accompaniment, conducted research about the training of dance musicians, and been a guest dance accompanist around the world. He is the Director of Artists Seeking Transcendence, an organization dedicated to combining philosophy, science, and aesthetics and which hosts workshops and retreats for emerging and established creatives featuring internationally acclaimed artists, philosophers, and researchers.
Mr. Smith is a 2018 recipient of the Reubin O’D. Askew Young Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed to young alumni by the FSU Alumni Association. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments to the recipient’s profession, community, and alma mater. He was a subject of the 2015 documentary film The Music That Makes Them Dance, which investigated prominent dance musicians. Mr. Smith received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University in 2005 and a Master of Music Education degree from The University of Florida in 2015.
Bachelor of Music Education, The Florida State University
Master of Music Education, The University of Florida
Music/Dance Relationships, Screendance, Philosophy of Art, Music Composition, Piano Performance, Cross-disciplinary Art, Immersive Theatre, Pedagogy
The Unspoken, Composer, Immersive Theatre, Choreography by Ben Howard, 2020
Roses in December, Co-composer and Pianist, Performance at The Kennedy Center, 2019
SEALEGS, Film Score Composer, Directed by Sarah Wilcoxon, 2019
Welliver Variation, Music Director, Co-commissioned by Martha Graham Dance Company and Opening Nights, Choreography by Gwen Welliver, 2018
Chaconne, Solo Pianist, Suzanne Farrel Ballet Company, Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Christoph Gluck, 2017