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Dr. Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a native of Gainesville, Florida and began playing the horn in middle school after five years of piano lessons. When he told his father, a dental professor and musical enthusiast, about his desire to quit piano and join the band, Patrick's father responded enthusiastically and encouraged his son to pursue the horn. The rest is history.

Growing up the son of a college professor, Patrick spent a great deal of time in academic settings and felt a strong connection to academia. While at Buchholz High School, he was active in the music program, and received inspiration from a cassette tape of Barry Tuckwell performing the Mozart concertos.  Patrick became involved with the Alachua County Youth Orchestra during his senior year of high school and, at that same time, began taking lessons with Don Carlson, a retired military engineer and building operations manager in the University of Florida Department of Music. Under Carlson's tutelage, Patrick was introduced to the symphonies of Mahler (1970s recordings featuring the Chicago Symphony), chamber music featuring the horn, and the concept that “loud is good.”

Patrick experienced frequent success during his studies at the University of Florida where he studied with Bruce Atwell and Paul Basler. Patrick was the winner of the university's concerto competition in 1995, the Southeast Horn Workshop solo competition in 1996, and performed in numerous master classes for numerous artists, including the likes of Arnold Jacobs and Michael Thompson. He attended the Brevard and Aspen Music festivals in 1993 and 1995 respectively and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education in May 1996. Patrick continued his education at the Hartt School of Music from 1996 to 1998, where he studied with David Jolley and earned a Master of Music Degree in Horn Performance. He spent the following three years teaching music in the public schools and performing with regional orchestras before pursuing a doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 2001, writing his dissertation on the great American jazz French horn artists, Julius Watkins, and earning his Ph.D. in 2005. 

Since 2005, Patrick has balanced a career in academia with that of an active performing artist. He performs frequently with the Richmond Symphony, Opera on the James, and other ensembles throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Patrick also performs frequently in solo capacities at regional workshops and international symposia sponsored by the International Horn Society, College Music Society, and National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors. He has served on the faculties at the University of Florida, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Eastern Music Festival, and is currently Associate Professor of Horn and Music History at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, where he lives with his wife and fellow horn player, Kristin.


My Kit

  • Horn: Hans Hoyer G10A-L1
  • Mouthpiece: Osmun Chicago Deep Cup with Osmun Geyer Rim
  • Case: Cardo Case Route 66
  • Mutes
    Ion Balu Thunder Limited Edition
    Tom Crown Stop Mute
    Yamaha Silent Brass
  • Oils
    Hetman #13 for the valves
    Hetman #14 for mechanical valve linkages
    Hetman #17 for valve bearings
    Hetman #7 slide gel

Essential Must Haves

  • Metronome: one that is capable of doing more than just clicking onbeats. I use the Dr. Beat 88 – can plug headphones into it or hook up to stereo speakers.
  • Tuner: Cleartune app on my iPhone.  99 cents and worth every bit of it!
  • Pencil and pencil clip: on the horn 24/7 with a spare pencil in the case too
  • Recording Library: on Pandora, iTunes, DVD, etc. If we don't know what we should sound like, how can we improve?

Words of Wisdom (from my teachers)

“Loud is Good!”
– Don Carlson

“Patience, Persistence, Dedication, Sacrifice.”
– Bruce Atwell

“Zinnnnng!!! Flare!!!! Drive!!! Full Power!!”
– Paul Basler

“Live the music. Sing the Music. Be the music. Bring to life not only every note of sound, but also, every beat of silence.”
– David Jolley

Favorite Compositions

  1. Symphony no.1 – Vasily Kalinnikov
  2. Serenade – Paul Basler
  3. Nocturno, op. 7  – Franz Strauss
  4. Choral Fantasy, op. 80 – Ludwig van Beethoven
  5. Symphony no. 2 – Gustav Mahler

Favorite Horn Artists

  1. The 1977 Chicago Symphony Horn Section
  2. Annamia Larsson
  3. Barry Tuckwell
  4. Julius Watkins
  5. David Jolley

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