Justin Smith – Bio

Justin Smith, DMA

MUS-Justin-Smith2014Assistant Professor
Director of Choral Activities
Joseph P. Naumes Endowed Chair, Music


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DMA, University of Houston
MM, University of Oregon
BA, Wesleyan University


Director of Choral Activities


Dr. Justin Smith is the Director of Choral Activities and holder of the Joseph Naumes Endowed Chair in Music at Marylhurst University, where he conducts three choirs, teaches music history and conducting, and administers the music core. He is director of the Marylhurst Chorale and founder of the Marylhurst Choral Union and Marylhurst Chamber Choir. Under his leadership, Marylhurst choirs have grown from 18 to 100 singers, from one to three choirs.

Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, the Marylhurst Chamber Choir has achieved international recognition, winning both Third Prize and the Peace Award at the 62nd International Cork Choral Festival, one of Europe’s most prestigious choral competitions, in May 2016. In 2014-15, the Chamber Choir appeared by invitation at both the Allstate Conference of the Oregon Music Educators Association, and on the stage of historic Carnegie Hall, New York City. In the summer of 2017, he led Chamber Choir to two gold medals at the European Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.

Dr. Smith is in demand as a judge and clinician throughout the Pacific Northwest and internationally. He is also the founder of Marylhurst Opera, which presents a fully staged production each spring. He received the Excellence in Academic Service and Teaching Award for the 2015-16 school year, and in 2017 served on the international jury for the 36th International Preveza Choral Festival in Preveza, Greece.

Before taking up his present position, he served as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where he conducted the Concert Women’s Chorus and the University Men’s Chorus. In the summer of 2010, he founded the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir, with whom he presented the Houston premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS in May of 2012 to rapturous acclaim and sold-out houses. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in April of 2012, conducting the Fauré Requiem for MidAmerica Productions, and returned to conduct the Randall Thompson Testament of Freedom in 2015. He conducted the Mozart Missa Brevis in Vienna, Austria in summer 2016. The Marylhurst Chamber Choir will again perform at the Allstate Conference of the Oregon Music Educators Association in January 2018 under his direction.

He holds the DMA in Choral Conducting from the Moores School of Music, where he studied with Charles Hausmann and Betsy Cook Weber. He is a scholar of American choral music, having been published twice in Choral Journal on neglected choral works of Marc Blitzstein and Vincent Persichetti. He holds further degrees in music from Wesleyan University and the University of Oregon.

Dr. Smith is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Oregon Music Educators Association. He serves as Collegiate R & S Chair on the board of the Oregon ACDA chapter.