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Tommy Smith

Alone at Last

Having premiered his 3rd Saxophone Concerto with the Orchestra of St. John Smith’s Square at Chelmsford Cathedral in May 1998, Smith went on to produce singer Jeff Leyton’s debut album with the City of London Philharmonic. Leyton, who is Smith’s uncle, also sang on Monte Cristo, the saxophonist’s commission for the combined forces of the Paragon Ensemble and his own Sextet, with text by Edwin Morgan. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in September 1998.

Smith’s extraordinary creativity continued unabated. While maintaining a busy international performing schedule, he wrote the music for a play, Kill the Old, Torture the Young, which was also produced at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. He also contributed tenor and soprano saxophone excerpts respectively to the movies Complicity and The Talented Mr Ripley, and premiered another large-scale composition, Sons and Daughters of Alba, incorporating Scottish folk music and musicians as well as text by Edwin Morgan, at Glasgow International Jazz Festival in July 2000.

In recognition of his artistic achievements, Smith was made Doctor of the University by Heriot-Watt University in his home town, Edinburgh on July 14, 1999 and the following year, on May 4, 2000, he became Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. The Best Tenor Saxophonist title at the British Jazz Awards followed in May 2002. On Burns Night, January 25, 2000, Smith was announced as one of the first fourteen recipients of the Scottish Arts Council’s Creative Scotland Awards. The award helped to fulfil his ambition of performing Alone At Last, a solo concert programme using tenor and soprano saxophones, high-tech equipment, poetry, natural sounds and special effects, which he toured extensively throughout Scotland and beyond in 2001.

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