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Julian Smith - Biography

Julian SmithJulian’s compositions include signature tunes for TV programmes in Britain and abroad, as well as the sound tracks for films. He composed a highly successful operetta while at Cambridge University, and has written music for many varied ensembles. His arrangements have been sung by Dennis O’Neill, Bryn Terfel, Suzanne Murphy, Wynne Evans, Charlotte Church and many others. Many are featured on CDs. Julian’s orchestrations include many opera stage-band arrangements, as well as Christmas carols.

Musicological work has included the reconstruction of the first version of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, commissioned by the Ricordi publishing house. This has been performed by several opera companies as well as being recorded. In December 2016 this version opened the new season at La Scala in Milan, and was broadcast live on TV and radio in much of Europe and beyond. In Italy alone 2.5 million people watched it on television. Julian also collaborated with the late Sir Charles Mackerras on performing editions of two of Handel’s opera, Rodelinda and Orlando, which have been performed in Europe and America.

As a conductor Julian has performed widely, specialising in the bel canto and Puccini repertoires. His performance of the Baz Luhrman production of La Bohème for Australian Opera was issued on DVD. For San Francisco Opera Julian conducted Madama Butterfly. Other companies he conducted for include New Zealand Opera, Vancouver Opera, Iceland Opera, Scottish Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera. For more than twenty years Julian was Head of Music at Welsh National Opera, and conducted performances there of more than forty productions.

The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition invited Julian to be Music Advisor in 1989, and for more than twenty years he was responsible for selecting the competitors to come to Cardiff by auditioning up to 700 applicants every two years around the world. He is the Director and also Chair of the Jury of the biennial Welsh Singers Competition.

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