Musician Robert W. Smith passed away at 64

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The famous band composer Robert W. Smith has passed away at the age of 64. Read on to know more about the american composer Robert Smith’s cause of death.

What happened to Robert W. Smith?

The music world is mourning the loss of the famous American band composer, Robert Smith who passed away on September 22, 2023.

This sad news was posted by his wife, Susan L. Smith in the following social media statement that reads,

Our dear husband, father, and teacher Robert W. Smith passed away today due to complications from cardiac surgery in Montgomery, Alabama. Arrangements for a Celebration of Life will be communicated when they have been determined. Thank you for keeping our family in your hearts.

Smith is survived by his beloved family, including his wife, Susan L Smith and his daughters, Madison W Smith and Savannah Cole., who will forever hold close the cherished memories of his incredible achievements, thrilling races, and the warmth of his spirit.

Robert W. Smith cause of death:

American composer Robert W. Smith passed away following complications after heart surgery. In this time of sorrow, let us remember Robert not with tears, but with his works that defined his life. As we celebrate his remarkable journey, let us honor his legacy by keeping the music alive in our hearts.

Robert had such a great impact on everyone fortunate enough to be a part of his world. In addition to being an amazing teacher, professional, and gentleman, Robert was also a wonderful person, a devoted husband, and a loving father.  

Who was Robert Smith?

Smith was born in Daleville, Alabama, on October 24, 1958. He enrolled at Troy State University after completing his high school education in Daleville, where he played principal trumpet in the Sound of the South Marching Band.

While attending Troy, he worked with Paul Yoder to study composition. In 1997, Smith went back to Troy, Alabama to take over as the band director at Troy State University in place of his predecessor, Dr. Long, who had retired.

Smith spent four years at Troy leading the Sound of the South Symphony Band and Marching Band. He left Troy in 2001 to work full-time for Warner Brothers Publications.

While away from Troy, his position with Warner took him all over the world as a guest conductor and clinician with several ensembles, including the New Mexico All-State Small School band.

Alfred Music Publishing, the father of Savannah Cole, canceled Smith’s contract with Warner Bros. in 2005. In addition to serving as the Vice-President of Product Development for the C. L. Barnhouse Company and Walking Frog Records, he coordinated Troy University’s Music Industry program. 

His album Don Quixote was nominated for a Contemporary Classical Album award at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards.

Robert Smith’s works:

Smith published nearly 600 compositions, including three symphonies. Symphony No. 1, The Divine Comedy, was inspired by Dante’s epic, Symphony No. 2, The Odyssey, was inspired by the Greek epic of the same name and Symphony No. 3, “Don Quixote”, was inspired by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s epic of the same title.

Smith wrote a song in Mary Jo Leahey’s honor in 2011, and on July 21, 2012, it was performed during the Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The song, Earhart: Sounds of Courage, honors Amelia Earhart’s fortitude during her 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Deb Huber, UMass Lowell’s associate director of bands, commissioned it.

Smith’s Achievements:

Smith has also written two works for solo instruments, Gemeinhardt Suite and Willson Suite, both for the flute family and the euphonium.

He wrote “Into The Storm” as a tribute to the catastrophic 1993 winter storm that ravaged the east coast of the US.

This piece is frequently incorporated into numerous themes and rearranged for various groups, such as a marching band performance or an orchestral version in which the flute ostinato is substituted for the violin portion.

Smith was initiated into the Zeta Upsilon chapter at the then Troy State University in April 1977, making him a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. “Strive for the Highest” is the subtitle of his piece “To the Summit”.

The center section of “To the Summit” is a reworked version of the Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity Hymn. Smith was a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, which was founded in 1996 at George Mason University and commissioned the song Spirit of Orpheus in 1998.

Smith’s other works:

Smith found success writing for drum and bugle corps in addition to bands. In the middle of the 1970s, he had been a member of the Charioteers Drum and Bugle Corps in Alabama.

His first significant achievement occurred in the middle of the 1980s while he was working as a writer for the Suncoast Sound, a drum corps based in Clearwater, Florida. During this time, Suncoast produced “A Florida Suite,” the first drum corps performance to feature entirely original music.

Later, he would spend several years writing for Magic of Orlando. He wrote for Toledo, Ohio’s Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps up until 2007. He coordinated the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from 2011 until 2014. Smith started penning pieces with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013.

Troy University confirmed Smith’s reappointment to the role of Coordinator of the Music Industry programme before the start of the 2006–2007 academic year. Smith announced his hiring as the C. L. Barnhouse Company’s director of product development and an exclusive publishing deal with the company in December 2006

Condolences to Robert Smith:

David Starnes posted,

The music world lost an amazing person and passionate advocate today. My longtime and dear friend, Smith died today following complications after heart surgery. I’m still in shock. Please keep his wife and children in your prayers. We love you Susan L. Smith, Savannah Cole, and Madison W. Smith. I know God has a special place for Robert and I will miss him. I am so grateful for our friendship and all that he did for me and so many.

John Harcus posted,

Robert W. Smith was not only one of my college band directors, but also a dear friend and mentor. The band world lost a legend today. I pray for comfort for Susan L. Smith Madison W. Smith and Savannah and all of the family during this difficult time.

W Dale Warren posted,

Donna and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Smith. We ask the Almighty for peace, comfort, and understanding during this most challenging time for Susan, Madison, Savannah, the entire Smith family, and the countless former students, colleagues, and friends who comprise Robert’s extended family. He had such a positive impact on everyone who had the good fortune to be a part of his world. Smith was a remarkable teacher, the consummate professional, a real gentleman, and most importantly…an extraordinary human, husband, and father. Robert W. Smith was truly one of a kind. Rest In Peace, Dear Maestro…you lived your life to the fullest. BRAVO!

Jasher tweeted,

#RIP to the iconic Robert W. Smith, a true legend at @TROYUnews
and an incredibly talented music arranger and composer.

Falls Church Bands tweeted,

The band world has lost a giant today. Robert W. Smith passed away today due to complications from cardiac surgery. Our thoughts are with his wife, Susan (FCHS class of ‘86) and the rest of the Smith family.


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2 thoughts on “Musician Robert W. Smith passed away at 64”

  1. I taught Suncoast Sound with Robert Smith in the early 80’s and I can say with the utmost confidence that we all knew that he was a musical genius and that he was destined for geatness, and in that endeavor, he did not disappoint.

  2. I was a classmate of Robert. We both played trumpet in the Troy University Band. A true gentleman, teacher, musician and friend. A giant in the band industry, he was loved by millions of people. He had a passion for his work and loved helping others create their passion. I will miss you my friend.

    Dr. Oliver C. Boone
    High School Band Director’s National Association


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