Rick SmithCo-Founder/Chief Operations Officer
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Mr. Smith began formal study of music on piano at the age of 7. He comes from a very musical family where everyone was expected to play an instrument or sing. It was quickly noticed that he had a talent for piano and became the pianist at his church at age 12, and continued until he began his college career. While studying music at Shorter College in Rome, GA, Mr. Smith not only strengthened and refined his skills as a pianist and vocalist, but he also developed a passion and a taste for exquisite choral music. Though his primary instrument is piano, private voice instruction and extensive choral training played a huge role in the make up of Mr. Smith's musical studies.
While receiving Bachelor’s degrees in both Church Music and Music Education, Mr. Smith gained exposure to choral music under the tutelage of choral genius, John H. Ratledge III, Ph.D. Dr. Ratledge, a student of the world renowned choral composer, Morten Lauridsen, engrained into his students a broad spectrum of remarkable technique in all genres of music.
Mr. Smith most recently served as Senior Music Minister at The River, United Methodist Church located in Cumming, GA. Prior to that, he held a music ministry position for 9 ½ years at First Christian Church of Atlanta, (Disciples of Christ), in Tucker, GA.
In 1997, Mr. Smith co-founded New School of Music which now has three locations in the Atlanta area. New School of Music employs approximately 80 professional faculty and staff, and provides quality, private and group music instruction to over 1600 students. Play Music Academy by New School of Music is launching new locations in Flowery Branch and Commerce, GA starting in March, 2011.
Mr. Smith has maintained a leadership role with Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra & Chorus since 1997. Currently he conducts the Gwinnett Symphony Chorus which he founded in 2007. The GSO Chorus is made up of musicians and vocalists of all levels and abilities and performs with the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center several times per year. The chorus performs sacred and secular works, major classical works, as well as contemporary selections from musical genres ranging from film scores to pop.
Under Mr. Smith’s direction, The GSOC has been recently bestowed the honor of performing in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, NY, on September 11, 2011, for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The performance, as part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York City (DCINY) Concert Series, will be of Rene Clausen’s Memorial, and will be conducted by the composer.