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After being introduced to the piano by his mother when he was 5 years old, PHILIP ALLEN SMITH began studying organ at age 12. Soon afterwards, he became the organist for his father’s parish church in Toledo, Ohio and gave his first public solo organ recital just two years later at age 14. During these early years, the double bass was also an important instrument in his musical training. He was principal bassist of Rogers High School, Toledo and also a member of the Toledo Youth Orchestra.
His piano teachers have been his mother, Helen Smith, and in college, Ms. Dzidra Bonfiglio. Organ teachers have been Carol Topolski, Mary Anderson, Robert Clark (UM) and Cherry Rhodes.
Philip was named the Conservator of the Organ in July 2004, for one of the premiere concert venues in the nation, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, where his duties include greeting and showing visitors, groups and guest artists the organ with demonstrations on what may well be Disney Hall’s most acclaimed feature, its visually astonishing and acoustically unparalleled pipe organ: the Glatter-Götz Orgelbau, Opus 9/Rosales Organ Builders, Opus 24.
Philip was awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organ from Spring Arbor University, Michigan (1974) and a Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance and Church Music from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1978) and additional private studies in Los Angeles with concert organist, Cherry Rhodes.
In January 2008, Philip was appointed Minister of Music and Organist at The Church of Our Saviour, Episcopal in San Gabriel, a historic parish in Los Angeles. He has also been Organist for the High Holy Days at Stephen Wise Temple, Los Angeles for the past 4 years. Previous work has been as the Organist and Choir Director at Temple Israel of Hollywood (1998-2008) and Organist and Choirmaster at Wilshire United Methodist Church, Los Angeles (2002-2007).
Whether appearing as a soloist, a member of the Price/Smith Duo for trumpet and organ, or as an accompanist for choral groups like the Anglican Chorale of Southern California, The Cambridge Singers, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Foothill Master Chorale and the Ventura Master Chorale, Phil has earned bravos worldwide – from Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Wiesbaden, Germany; and Dublin, Ireland in Europe to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Hollywood in the United States. He has also received invitations to perform at Wells Cathedral and St. Paul’s Cathedral in England, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Ireland, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, First Congregational Church, Los Angeles, St. James’s in the City, Episcopal, Los Angeles, the Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, and many other venues in Southern and Central California. He also is the organist for the yearly “Holiday Sing-a-long” at Walt Disney Concert Hall during the Christmas season.
Phil has also been involved in the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for many years. He has just completed two years of being Sub Dean/Program Chair and this new season, 2013-14; he will be Dean of the chapter.
Yet, he can often be found in the classroom as well – offering lessons not only in organ but in piano and voice, too. In 2006, he was featured in the new book about the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ, “A Forest of Pipes” and released a demonstration CD on the organ with expert Manuel Rosales, who built the famed organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Playing a major role in the new DVD, “The Walt Disney Concert Hall ORGAN”, it was released in 2012 and is available in the L A Phil Store on Grand Ave. at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.