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Artists Randall Smith

Randall Smith began composing initially with experimental film, working with filmmakers living in his hometown of Toronto. In 1987 he composed his first solo tape piece, Fleeting Wheels of Changes. From this point until 1995 Randall Smith composed purely electroacoustic music. In 1992 he began to study the violin under Eugene Kash. Unknown to him at the time the real direction that this would lead to would be the writing for instruments and tape (mixed electroacoustic music). In 1995, after meeting cellist Daniel Domb, he composed his first mixed piece Continental Rift, for cello and tape. Since then Randall Smith has composed several other mixed pices.

Randall Smith has had his works presented in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and the United States of America. He received 1st Jury prize and Public prize at the Noroit-Léonce Petitot Competition (Arras, France, 1996), 1st and 2nd prize at Luigi Russolo Competition (Varese, Italy, 1993, ’95), the GMEM prize (Marseilles, France, 1993), and two mentions at the Bourges competition (France, 1993, ’97). He has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. He has received commissions from ACREQ, Canadian Electronic Ensemble, Continuum, percussionist Beverly Johnston, accordionist Joseph Petric and Réseaux, to name a few. Randall Smith’s music was released on L’oreille voit, and Sondes (both on the empreintes DIGITALes label), and on several compilation discs.

In 1998 Randall Smith began studying the tar, an Iranian string instrument, under Ahmad Ashraf-Abadi (further combining his musical approach with diverse cultural musical ideas to create new works). Randall Smith is a fulltime composer and produces his music at his own studio in Toronto.

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Randall Smith

Windsor (Ontario, Canada), 1960

Residence: Toronto (Ontario, Canada)

  • Composer
  • Journalist

On the Web

Randall Smith, photo: André Pierre Leduc, Toronto (Ontario, Canada), 1999

Selected Works

Main Releases

empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 9948 / 1999
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 9416 / 1994

Appearances

Various artists
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 9837 / 1998
Various artists
Various artists
CEC-PeP / CEC 95CD / 1995

Complements

Various artists
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0050 / 2000
  • Out of print
Various artists
Fondazione Russolo-Pratella / EFERP 95 / 1995
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Fondazione Russolo-Pratella / EFERP 93 / 1993
  • Not in catalogue

In the Press

Portrait

François Couture, All-Music Guide, Thursday, September 13, 2001

Randall Smith is one of the lesser-known Canadian electroacoustic composers — and it’s a shame. His music surely equals the one of Gilles Gobeil or Robert Normandeau. Fascinated by the cinematographic possibilities of acousmatic art, Smith approaches the genre with a lack of pomposity and a playfulness that make his works particularly suitable for newcomers to musique concrète and its derivatives.

Smith was born in the industrial city of Windsor (Ontario, Canada). He started his career as a composer through collaborations with dancers and film makers in Toronto. His discovery of the music created at the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) in Paris prompted a decisive shift and from 1987 to 1995 he created acousmatic music exclusively. His first solo CD L’oreille voit (“The Ear Sees,” the title being by itself a good indication of his artistic goal), released on the prestigious label empreintes DIGITALes, in 1994 eloquently summarizes this period.

In 1992, Smith began to take violin lessons with Eugene Kash. This would soon lead him to create mixed electroacoustic music (works for instruments and tape). His first (and very impressive) attempts in this direction can be heard on his second album, Sondes (1999), including Convergence, the piece he wrote for virtuoso accordionist Joseph Petric.

He has won his share of prizes at international competitions and received grants from Canadian governmental councils, but he can hardly be seen as a careerist or an administrator, unlike many other electroacoustic composers. The late 1990s saw Smith becoming interested in Middle-Eastern folkloric music. He studied the tar with Ahmad Ashraf-Abadi.

Smith approaches the genre with a lack of pomposity and a playfulness that make his works particularly suitable for newcomers to musique concrète…

Smith Wins Noroit Prize

Rick MacMillan, SOCAN, Words & Music, Monday, April 1, 1996

Randall Smith of Toronto has been awarded both the first Jury Prize and the Public Prize in the 1996 International Noroit Acousmatic Music Competition in Arras, France. Each prize is valued at $3,000. Smith’s work Elastic Rebound was picked from a field of 81 entries. Fellow Canadians Ned Bouhalassa and Marc Tremblay were also among the seven finalists.

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