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Ray Smith

Professor of Saxophone

"My good friend Daren Bradford introduced me to this. You have to try it to believe it. It's pretty amazing what it does."


Ray Smith is one of those relatively rare individuals who is both an excellent performer and an excellent teacher. Currently, he teaches at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah as the Professor of Saxophone. His jazz big band, Synthesis, has received national and international recognition by winning many jazz festival competitions such as the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and those sponsored by the International Association of Jazz Educators; performing in some of the great international jazz festivals such as The Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Antibes Jazz Festival in the French Riviera, The Riga Jazz Festival in Latvia, The Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, The Kongsberg Jazz Festival in Norway, and The Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy; and has toured Japan and China, not to mention blazing new trails into Siberia in 1998.

As a performer, Smith is equally at home in either classical or jazz-related styles and is adept at all five of the woodwind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. He also performs and records frequently on the Yamaha WX7 Midi Electronic Wind Instrument and the AKAI E.W.I. and often plays recorders, pennywhistles, and other ethnic flutes in the recording studio. He has over 130 CD credits and has recorded on many film scores and television themes and jingles such as The Sandlot, Mi Familia, The Swan Princess, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Ricky Lake Show, Buick, Chevy, etc., and many Canadian and German television and radio themes. Dr. Smith performs periodically with the Utah Symphony and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is a regular with the Utah Saxophone Quartet and Q’d up, the BYU faculty jazz quintet.

Smith also does clinics and performances at colleges and high schools and adjudicates at jazz festivals. In the summers, he teaches at various jazz workshops including the Birch Creek Jazz Camp in Wisconsin where he received the Woody Herman Award for musical excellence and professionalism. In 1998, Smith was the recipient of the Voice of Jazz Award for the State of Utah. His newest CD, Q’d up is currently receiving considerable airplay around the country.

DM, Woodwinds Performance, Indiana University, 1982
MM, Woodwinds Performance, Indiana University, 1976
BM, Music Education, Brigham Young University, 1975


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