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Robert Smith

Senior Lecturer

  • School Of Production and Performance
  • Faculty of Creative Industries

Research interests

Research interests:

Community Music, Improvisation, Composing for film, TV and Radio

Current research activity:


• Selected publications: Machine 2005, Delete Memory 2002, (both HQRecordings)
• ‘I Thought I Heard Buddy Boldemn Shout’ BBC Radio3 Feb 2006
• Radio Tesla (Star Radio 2005)
• Improvisation Continuums (2007) organising committee. Also presented paper and special composition and performance


Senior Lecturer Popular Music

Senior Lecturer

School Of Production and Performance

University of South Wales

4 Sep 2006 → present

Senior Lecturer Popular Music

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Creative Industries

University of South Wales

4 Sep 2006 → present

Research Institute : Creative Industries

University of South Wales

11 Apr 201331 Jul 2018

Research output


Smith, R., 30 Sep 2019

Improvisational approaches: improvisation in composing, performing and working with assistive technologies

Smith, R. & Challis, B., 2019, In: Contemporary Music Review. 38

Carnival Narratives: Exploring the non-semantic embodiment of a display notion in Carnival

Smith, R. & Dewis, A., 1 Aug 2017, (Submitted) In: Studies in Theatre and Performance.

Creating the music for 'Graveyard Voices'

Smith, R., 2 Feb 2017, (Submitted) In: Studies in Theatre and Performance.

System Street

Smith, R. & Challis, B., 6 Jun 2015

System Street

Smith, R., 6 Jun 2015

Interdependable: Case studies in improvisation, composition and choreography in contemporary dance

Smith, R. & Challis, B., 17 May 2015, In: KES Transactions on Innovations in Music. 1, 1 (Special Edition - Innovation in Music 2013), p. 201-212 12 p., im13bk-018.

'Wonderbrass' as a South Wales Community Jazz Collective

Smith, R., 11 Mar 2015, The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music (Transnational Studies in Jazz). Whyton, T. & Gebhardt, N. (eds.). London and Chicago: Routledge, p. 157-176 20 p. Chapter 9. (Transnational studies in Jazz).

Wireless Zombies! A re-creation of Golden Age radio drama for a contemporary audience

D'Arcy, G., Hand, R., Traynor, M., Challis, B., Smith, R. & Dean, R., 4 Nov 2014, In: Studies in Theatre and Performance. 34, 3, p. 252-259 7 p.

Immersion versus Alienation: Listening to Life on Mars

Smith, R., 1 Mar 2012, (Accepted/In press) Life on Mars: From Manchester to New York.

Wonderbrass as a community jazz collective

Smith, R., 1 Jan 2012, In: Jazz Research Journal. 3

Audience Journeys Through Multiple Stories: Adapting King Oedipus for Performance

Smith, R., Carklin, M. & Allinson, J., 1 May 2011, In: Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance. 4, 1, p. 69 - 92 23 p.

Assistive Technology and Performance Behaviours in Music Improvisation

Smith, R. & Challis, B., 1 Jan 2011, Web Information Systems and Technologies: 7th International Conference, WEBIST 2011, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, May 6-9, 2011, Revised Selected Papers. Springer Verlag, p. 63-70

King Oedipus

Carklin, M., Allinson, J. & Smith, R., 6 Feb 2008

Inclusive Technology and Community Music

Smith, R. & Challis, B., 1 Jan 2008, (E-pub ahead of print).

Wonderbrass: creating a community through music

Smith, R., 1 Jan 1990, (Unpublished) N/A.

Main teaching areas: PerformanceCarnivalPopular music Composition Film musicExperience

SCORES FOR FILMS,TELEVISION and MEDIA:‘The Knowledge’ 1996 dir. Chris Forster.‘The Confectioner’ 1997 dir. Margaret Constantas. (BBC Cominssion)‘Minim’ 1999 dir. Chris Forster. In 1999 this film won both the D M. Davies Award at the International Film Festival of Wales and 3rd jury prize at the International Short Film Festival at Uppsala, Sweden.‘Overland’ dir. Chris Forster for Al Fresco completed October 2001Score for 50 minute film about artist Gwen John for Green Bay in Jan 2002 screened by BBC in 2004.Score for film ‘The Portrait’’ by Chris Forster, 2013 (20 mins)‘I thought I heard Buddy Bolden Shout’ Composed score for this radio play by Larry Allan, first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 o 12/2/06Six scores for TV (4 series and 2 one-offs) for Raw Charm Ltd.‘Trails’ 2012 dir. Wyn Mason (composed score with Ben Challis). (57 min)‘Unwaith’ 2012 dir. Wyn Mason (4 min)‘The Portrait’ 2013 dir. Chris Forster. This film won Best Short BAFTA Cymru 2014.

OTHER COMPOSITIONS Selected compositions include:1986-97 Composed several scores for theatre including three musicals, Race 1988, Starcross’d 1990 and Dangerous Acquaintances 1997 for theatre groups including Gradual Decline, Moving Being and Hijinx.1994 ‘Two Arctic Songs’ performed in Cardiff University by London Sinfonietta Voices.May 1998 ‘Coasting’ for clarinet and piano. Performed by Verity Fielding and David Appleton of PM Ensemble.July 1998 ‘The Bridge (Y Bont)’ for Jazz Big Band, Steel Pans, Samba Percussion, Indian Percussion Group, Gospel Choir (S, M-s, A), Folk Singer, Bhangra Singer, Rapper and Narrator(T). Performed by various groups, commissioned and co-ordinated by South Wales Intercultural Community Arts and conducted by Rob Smith. The first performance was at the EU heads of state conference in Cardiff.June -July 2000 ‘Crossing Borders’ for Community Music Groups in Torfaen (scored for Choir, Brass Band, Jazz Group, Samba Percussion and Trumpet Soloist)_1999 Score for Film MINIM toured in Wales and Europe by PM Ensemble.2001 ‘Toccata, Lachrymae, Tenebrae’ for Viol Consort, Electric Guitar, Flute and Soprano sax. First performed in Alkmaar, Netherlands 2.3.01.September 2002, Composition ‘The Street Enters The House’ for piano quintet performed in Vale of Glamorgan Festival by Ensemble Chamber Domaine.August 2005, Composition ‘The Meeting Place’ for Amampondo and Wonderbrass premiered at Brecon International Jazz Festival.May 2006 Composed ‘The Idea of North’ for strings, soprano sax, bass clarinet, laptop & electronics. First performed in Bath International Music Festival.2007 Composed ‘Sacred Sites’ for Cardiff Improvisers’ Ensemble, first performed at Improvisation Continuum Conference in Royal Welsh College of Music, May 2007.Over the past ten years I have also composed six multi-movement scores for community Big Bands, sometimes augmented by extra instruments and at others by an entire samba percussion group. These have been commissioned by The Welsh Jazz Society, South Wales Intercultural Community Arts and Wonderbrass. They were funded by The Arts Council of Wales, The Lottery Arts Fund and the Performing Rights Society..

PUBLICATIONS:OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES:Founder and Musical Director of ‘Wonderbrass’ 1992-present. Wonderbrass is a community jazz big band.Tutor on Community Music Wales’ Music Tutor Training Programme. 1995-present.Organiser of, and regular contributor to, monthly ‘ROVE’: concert series, in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff .2003-2010Performs with bands Heavy Quartet (since 1984), Iron Eye (since 2012) Occasional Brass Ensemble (since 2010) Belleville (since 2013) and in various solo, duo and trio contexts.Publications Scores and Recordings of ‘The Bridge/Y Bont’ and ‘Torri Ffyniau/Crossing Borders’ are in British Library’s National Community Music Archive.Score for Film ‘The Confectioner’ commissioned and subsequently broadcast by BBC Wales.Scores for Films ‘The Knowledge’ 1996, ‘Minim’ 1999, and ‘Overland’ 2001 on general release.Five studio albums with jazz band ‘The Heavy Quartet’ and one with free improvisers ‘The Diggers’Articles in Journal od theatre adaptation, Jazz Research Journal, ‘Life on Mars; from Manchester to New York’, University of Wales Press 2012.‘Interdependability’ article on interactive music ands dance in KES publication 2014.Chapter in book on Jazz Collectives, ‘THIS IS OUR MUSIC’ Jazz and Politics series Routledge USA, published 2015.Composed and arranged all music for 2 x IRON EYE EP’s: ‘Cardboard Cities’ (2013) and ‘System Street’ (2015).

Memberships Musicians’ Union, PRS, MCPS, Community Music Wales.Consultancy Jed Williams Memorial Jazz Days Organising Committee 2007 Jazz4Jed Organisation Committee

Research Research interests:Community Music, Improvisation, Composing for film, TV and RadioCurrent research activity:Improvisation• Selected publications: Machine 2005, Delete Memory 2002, (both HQRecordings)• ‘I Thought I Heard Buddy Boldemn Shout’ BBC Radio3 Feb 2006• Radio Tesla (Star Radio 2005)• Improvisation Continuums (2007) organising committee.

Also presented paper and special composition and performanceAreas of Expertise Music and Communities, Jazz, Musical Collectives, Improvisation, Composing for Media, Music and Dance

Twitter @manwithoutsax

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