Fenwick Smith, second flutist of the BSO from 1978 to 2006, spent five of those years as acting assistant principal flute. Smith joined the New England Conservatory faculty in 1982, and took on an expanded teaching commitment at the Conservatory after his BSO retirement. He continued to teach here through fall 2012.
A member of the Boston Chamber Music Society since 1984, he has also performed on baroque flute with Boston’s leading early music ensembles, and was for 13 years a member of the contemporary music ensemble Boston Musica Viva.
For more than thirty seasons, his annual Jordan Hall recitals were seen as a landmark that opened Boston’s fall concert season. This tradition was honored in September 2013, when the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition scheduled its winner's concert for Smith's traditional Jordan Hall fall recital. He was honored by visiting and local flutists, including former students, to commemorate the occasion.
As a concerto soloist Smith has introduced to Boston audiences Lukas Foss’s Renaissance Concerto and the flute concertos of John Harbison and Christopher Rouse. His discography includes premiere recordings of works by Copland, Foote, Gaubert, Ginastera, Koechlin, Dahl, Schulhoff, Schoenberg, Harbison, Cage, Pinkham, Rorem, and Reinecke.
Smith stated his teaching philosophy thus: “My teaching tends to be analytical and specific. Areas of particular interest to me include the player’s physical motion, and the ways it can help or hinder performance; the production and musicianly use of vibrato, and the control and use of intonation and tone color to enhance expressivity. While I consider myself a generalist, and am interested in all kinds of good music for the flute, I am particularly fond of the French baroque repertoire.”
Verne Q. Powell Flutes, Inc., where earlier in his career Smith worked as a flute maker, has sponsored him in masterclasses and recitals, nationally and internationally, as an emissary of the company. In 2008, Smith was named Musician of the Year by the Boston Musicians's Association, and in 2010 he received the National Flute Association's Lifetime Achievement Award.
B.M., Eastman School of Music. Flute with Joseph Mariano. Recordings on Nonesuch, Hyperion, Koch, Naxos. Visiting professor of flute at University of Michigan School of Music (1997–98). Former faculty of Tanglewood Music Center. 2001 recipient of NEC's Laurence Lesser Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut