Paul Smith


Paul Smith graduated from the Mannes College of Music in 2006 receiving his Bachelor’s of Music and the Associated Music Teacher’s Award for community engagement at the Morgan Library and Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After completing studies with Metropolitan Opera Lutenist and Guitarist Frederic Hand, Mr. Smith enrolled in the Juilliard School’s Master of Music guitar program under multi-Grammy award winning guitarist Sharon Isbin, receiving the William Randolph Hearts scholarship and the McCabe Fellowship designed to engage and cultivate students in interactive and formal concert settings. Studies included Baroque Performance practice with then New York Philharmonic Harpsichordist, Lionel Party. 

Numerous critical teaching philosophies were developed during this period from 2002-2008 and featured group instruction at the community level (LaGuardia Community College), the charter-school level (The Columbia University’s “The School”) and various institutions throughout the 5 boroughs, serving the gamut of economic backgrounds. Employment through the universities provided experience in Library and Bookbinding services at Mannes and Archives department of the Juilliard School, in addition to the community advocacy programs. From 2006-2011 Mr. Smith served as the Head of Guitar studies at the Bergen Academy of Music and Art in Oradell, NJ. While after relocating to Philadelphia with his wife Erin, Mr. Smith taught at Settlement Music School and developed Summer Music programs for the Caring People Alliance in South Philadelphia prior to accepting the position of Associate Director of The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune Up Philly program in 2011. 

Mr. Smith is a two time recording artist for the Vienna Modern Masters label, featuring debut music for Classical Guitar. As a composer Mr. Smith’s works receive steady commissions and have been featured at Alice Tully Hall, and include pedagogical compositions recently performed alongside the Philadelphia Orchestra under Associate Conductor Cristian Măcelaru.

Connections/Expertise w/ El Sistema-inspired programs
After nearly a decade’s experience with inner-city music programming in a variety of economic climates, Mr. Smith accepted the Associate Director position at the Tune Up Philly program, providing an experienced, results- based approach to working with Philadelphia’s most-challenged students.

Mr. Smith’s experience extends beyond the administrative capacities to include pedagogical composition, and curriculum for hundreds of students each year, including conducting the Tune Up Philly orchestra. Mr. Smith has played an indispensable role in growing the program over 300% since 2011, creating 5 new faculty positions, and coordinated and executed program operations from grants/awards in excess of half a million dollars. 

Special skills/professional expertise/resources/connections that the candidate would bring to the board
Mr. Smith’s life-long study of music through education, institutions, performance, recording, and composition offer a holistic approach to music in America today. Mr. Smith’s track record exemplifies the aspirational spirit and inspiration the El Sistema movement, with specific expertise in American urban/inner-city practices. Mr. Smith’s connections include collaborative grant-based initiatives with Philadelphia institutions dedicated to revitalizing the city via real-estate, quality of life plans, health and family perspectives. (Food Trust, LISC, APM, Taller Puertorriqueno, EducationWorks, The Free Library of Philadelphia) These perspectives are valuable to identifying successful and supported arts-based initiatives in challenging climates.

Mr. Smith’s parent organization, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra is the region’s premiere Youth Orchestra complimenting the standard and focus of El Sistema based programming, providing an accessible and connective programming for communities with a long-standing, established ensemble. 

Why the candidate wishes to serve on the board
Since the beginning of my musical studies I have dedicated myself to cultivation; Cultivating the under-developed repertoire of the Classical Guitar, the minds of eager young performers, and audiences in search of engaging programming and compositions. The El Sistema movement has the potential to produce an unprecedented impact on our Nation, and revitalize the presence and standard of our Arts programming nationally and locally. Music requires caregivers, who will remain a constant advocate for the arts while holding the arts to a higher standard of impact and relevance. I believe that through my nomination to the NAESIP board I will provide accountable assets to the El Sistema movement, and the opportunity to contribute to a greater good outside of Philadelphia. Acceptance into this board will provide priceless support and cultivation from the participating organizations that will have a direct and positive impact on the communities Tune Up Philly serves. Thank you for your consideration.

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