David J. Smith is an organist, harpsichordist and recorder player. He specialises in early seventeenth-century keyboard music from England and The Netherlands, and in improvisation in a variety of styles and idioms. 'David J. Smith is renowned for his improvisations … he gave us a sturdy Prelude and Fugue in the German Baroque style and … he brought the recital to a close with a Toccata-like modern piece, full of wonderful sharp edges, twists and turns and excellent good humour.'
Before moving to Northumbria University in September 2018 as Founding Head of Music, David was professor in music at the University of Aberdeen, where he served as Head of Music and was Master of Chapel and Ceremonial Music.
David’s recording of sacred vocal music and organ works by J.S. Bach with the Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen, met with critical acclaim. The 5* review in Choir & Organ described an ‘unforgettable experience’ in which ‘the text is interpreted with great sensitivity, intelligence and breath control’ and ‘Bach chorale preludes provide contemplative interludes between the vocal works’. The CD has been broadcast on Radio 3, Radio Scotland and in the USA.
On Exiled, David directed the choir in two motets by Peter Philips (1560/61–1628) with internationally acclaimed Rose Consort of Viols. 'The choir, joined by Canadian soprano Frauke Jurgensen, is excellent, and the performers' decisions as to balance and scoring are nicely judged' (The Consort). The Rose Consort performs pieces from his scholarly edition of consort music by Philips and Richard Dering (c.1580–1630) for Musica Britannica alongside keyboard pieces by Philips played by David from his edition for the same series. ‘With the Rose Consort listeners know that they will be hearing consummate performances. David Smith is not only the world expert on Philips now, but is also himself a fine harpsichordist.’ (Early Music Review).
As a member of AB24, David plays harpsichord continuo and recorder. As well as performing with AB24, David gives solo organ recitals. He has given masterclasses in improvisation, French classical organ repertoire and early English keyboard music in the UK and in Poland, where in 2016 he was invited to teach on the Academy of Improvisation in Gdańsk.