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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

Adrian A. Smith

b. Kingston-upon-Hull, 28 October 1931

d. Huddersfield, 6 December 2005

Contributions from
John Quinn
Paul Serotsky
Sir Malcolm Arnold, CBE
Arthur Butterworth MBE
Mathew Curtis
Keith Llewellyn
Elaine Carter
Marilyn and Dick Myers, Edgewood Symphony Orchestra
Stuart Marsden, SPO Trumpeter

From Matthew Curtis, composer -

Unlike writers or visual artists, whose finished works can be appreciated instantly, composers like myself rely on others to bring their creations to life. Quite possibly my own work would have never seen the light of day but for the active support over the last quarter century or so of a relative handful of people, of whom Adrian was one of the most important.On Adrian's retirement as conductor of Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) in 2001, the orchestra's President, Edward Kelly, remarked that the SPO owed Adrian a debt that could never be repaid, and I could say much the same of myself.

Adrian and the SPO came into my life in 1987 just as the BBC was all but closing its doors to me and other composers not of the "squeaky gate" tendency. Over the next decade or so until Adrian's retirement, I was given the chance to write and hear performed a considerable number of new works, including four substantial concert suites, which formed the foundation of the recent revival in my musical fortunes through commercially-issued CDs. I wonder how much of this music would even have been written, let alone played, but for Adrian's encouragement and support.


What I particularly appreciated about working with Adrian was that he gave me that opportunity most valuable to any creative artist - the chance to fail, without which the risk of settling into a too-comfortable rut is ever present. Even when Adrian had personal doubts about a work (doubts which, as I am sure will come as no surprise to those who knew him, he never hesitated to share with me frankly, but never unkindly), he never wavered in his public commitment to securing the best possible performance of it. How refreshingly different from so many conductors, both professional and amateur, who seem only to want to deal with "racing certainties".


May he rest in peace. He has more than deserved his place in the sun.



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