GARY HEATON-SMITH earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in percussion performance and a Master of Arts with Highest Honors in composition from California State University, Fresno. His percussion teachers have included Raynor Carroll, Theresa Dimond, Michael Downing, and Matthew Darling; his composition teachers have included Kenneth Froelich and Benjamin Boone. He is currently finishing his DMA degree in percussion performance at UCLA. A percussionist with a versatile musical background, Heaton-Smith regularly performs music with unique personalities. In 2010, he won the California State University Fresno Concerto Competition for his performance of the trio concerto The Glory and the Grandeur by Russell Peck. In 2013, he premiered Qui Vem by Paulo Rios Filho with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble – the leading contemporary ensemble in California’s Central Valley. In 2015, he worked directly with Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barrière on a revised work for solo multiple-percussion and electronics. This work was performed at the Beyond Music: Composition and Performance in the Age of Augmented Reality festival. Heaton-Smith has performed frequently as a substitute percussionist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
In 2012, Heaton-Smith’s own work, Between These Walls, was selected for performance by the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra; its premiere was greeted with critical acclaim. In 2016, the Impetus Percussion Quartet performed his work North of Nysa at the Central California Day of Percussion. Many of his other works have been performed nationwide.
A sought-after teacher, Heaton-Smith has led groups to winning five national marching band and winter percussion championships. He has also served as front ensemble coordinator for the Modesto Fever Drum and Bugle Corps and Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Currently, Heaton-Smith is on faculty at Antelope Valley College.