Philip began his musical life at age five as a pianist and by age twelve began studies on double bass and organ. He held the position of principal bassist for his junior and senior high school orchestras and second chair bassist for the Toledo, OH Youth Orchestra. As an organist, he gave his first solo recital in Toledo at age fourteen. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organ Performance from Spring Arbor College in Michigan (1974) and the degree Master of Music in Church Music and Organ Performance from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1978). He has studied organ with Mary Anderson, Audrejean Heydenburg, Albert Bolitho, Robert Clark, and Cherry Rhodes. He also studied conducting with Harold Haugh, Thomas Hilbish, and Maynard Klein, among others.
As an active member of the American Guild of Organists, he has served the Pasadena chapter as Treasurer, Program Chair, Sub-Dean and Dean (for two different terms). He is now involved in the new Los Angeles chapter, formed by a merger of the former Pasadena and Los Angeles chapters.
Solo organ concerts and accompanying have brought Philip Smith worldwide engagements, including traveling as the featured soloist and choral accompanist for a tour of Scandinavia. In the past decade, he has played solo organ recitals at the Marktkirche, Wiesbaden, Germany; St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco; National Presbyterian Church, Washington DC; Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, Walnut Creek, CA; Occidental College, Los Angeles; First Congregational Church, Los Angeles (including the first Organ Alive! conference in 1999); St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley, CA; St. James Episcopal Church, Los Angeles; Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, CA; Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA; and many other venues throughout the United States. He has also appeared as guest soloist with the Long Beach (CA) Symphony.
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