About Stuart Saunders Smith

Stuart Saunders Smith was born in Portland, Maine in 1948. He was raised in Portland and central Maine. Smith now resides in Baltimore, but very much still lives in Maine. His music reflects the culture, geography, and the general ethos of his home state. This is easily seen in a description of some of his compositions.

Poems I, II, III (1970) describes the Maine winter. 3 for 2 (1972) are portraits of three places in Maine that factor in the roots of his family: The Kennebec, The Forks, Caratunk. In Bingham (1985) expresses the loss of the mills in small towns. ...And Points North (1990) is about the Passamaquoddy Nation in eastern Maine. Two Lights (2002) is a sound portrait of Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, where the cliffs of granite boom into the sea in swirls of mist and spray. Smith has composed 110 compositions to date. In overt and implicit ways, each piece evokes the downeast character, and the "pine tree" soul.

Concerning his compositional process, Stuart Saunders Smith is a confessional composer. With each piece, he proclaims and reconsiders his core beliefs, sound by sound, in the context of decades of music-making. Smith holds that each sound is intelligent, and when listened to, can direct the course of events in the composition. So Smith listens to each sound to tell him what sound should come next, until the piece is finished.