Joshua Smith, flute biographyreviewsengagementsconversationrecordingsfor media and presenterscontact
biography
Joshua Smith
© Frank J. Lanza, 2013

Reviews of "Bach Flute Sonatas"
[ about the CD ]

"Superb ..."
— Alex Ross, The New Yorker, January 4, 2010

"Nothing is shirked, no challenge is met with anything other than absolute mastery, and yet the music-making is of such quality that there is no sense of effort. For artists who enjoy the levels of virtuosity attained by Mr. Smith and Mr. Vinikour, the supreme difficulties of the music are in its interpretation. Nevertheless, this appearance of ease should not distract from the incredible feats of technical execution that fill this recording."
— Voix des Arts, October 27, 2009

"... flawlessly presented by Joshua Smith on the flute and Jory Vinikour on the harpsichord. ... Smith shows an uncanny knack for understanding Bach’s phrasing, and he inhales at just the appropriate moments all the way through. This in itself is an indicator of his superior musicianship."
Fanfare, March 4, 2010

"Mr. Smith’s every note demonstrates intelligence, care and a superb musicality. ... There is a special joy to be found when two equals engage in a complementary endeavor such as this one. They chase each other up and down the scales and in and around the complicated melodies in such a way that you’ll want to participate, too. They make it sound SO easy, but of course, it’s entirely the opposite."
— Cool Cleveland, January 6, 2010

"[This] collaboration is inspiring down to the smallest and most instantaneous bending of time for expressive purposes, and they manage to negotiate their way through quick tempos without mishap or appearing to be in a hurry ... Beautiful tone is simply a given."
— Cleveland Classical, January 11, 2010

"These duo sonatas and the Partita for solo flute are given exemplary (and hugely enjoyable) performance by Joshua Smith and Jory Vinikour. ... This is music-making of the highest order by virtuosos who use all their abilities to convey the beauty and sheer joy of this music. This is a fabulous recording. Run, don't walk, to get a copy."
Pan, The Flute Magazine, December 2009
read full review

"It's very fine playing and a sign of how far the HIP movement's come: instruments and technique used to illuminate the music, rather than poor old Bach being assaulted by the latest flute fashion and performers' ego (on the one hand) or rendered 'musically correct' by dry-as-dust HIP scholars (on the other)." (HIP="historically-informed performance")
— Brightcecilia Classical Music Forum, December 2009
read comments

"If you are in need of a modern version of these Sonatas, look no further than Joshua Smith. His playing has been hailed as virtuosic and lyrical. He exhibits both here."
— Audiophilia, November 17, 2009

Bach and Graffiti, Recommended CD: The New Yorker, Alex Ross, January 4, 2010

Bach Flute Sonatas, Fanfare, March 4, 2010

Baroque in English, Cleveland Scene, January 6, 2010

Flute Sonatas, Cool Cleveland, January 6, 2010

J.S. Bach Flute Sonatas, Cleveland Classical, January 11, 2010

J.S. Bach Flute Sonatas, Audiophilia, Anthony Kershaw, November 17, 2009

J.S. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord, Voix des Arts, October 27, 2009

The Cleveland Orchestra - and friends - release five new classical recordings, The Plain Dealer, Zachary Lewis, November 21, 2009

Reviews of "Bach Flute Sonatas with Continuo & Musical Offering Trio Sonata"
[ about the CD ]

"... the performances are doubly persuasive, elegant and academically informed, revealing both the music's surface beauty and its textural intricacy. Smith's consummate talent is on continual display, yet it's never about him. Whether partnering with Vinikour or collaborating with Morgan and Edberg, Smith is a team player, a virtuoso servant of the music."
Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 26, 2010

"It goes without saying that a player in an orchestral seat as hot as Smith’s has technique to burn, but it is the musical line delivered with such flair that continues to impress from Smith. The Bach Sonatas are tremendously taxing for the player — in breath control, stamina, and absolute accuracy of pitch. Again, no fears for this player. As such, the listener can hear the music played with apparent ease. ... grace and charm imbues the entire disc."
— Audiophilia, November 18, 2010
read full review

"Joshua Smith ... and his colleagues correctly perform these works as chamber music rather than as flute solos with accompaniment. There is no preciousness about these performances: the players treat these works as music to be enjoyed, not revered."
Pan, The Flute Magazine
read full review

"The second disc, a splendid extension of the first ... is obviously the result of musicians bonding -- clearly revealed in the music making, but photographically represented by the collage of fingers that forms the background for the CD label and the inside of its jewel case. ... The playing is uniformly and predictably flawless. Joshua Smith, a player with the strength and endurance of a marathon runner, makes easy work out of Bach's long spun lines -- and creates fine, overarching phrases out of impossibly short motives ..."
— ClevelandClassical.com
read full review

"Flautist Joshua Smith and the other performers in a new recording of Bach’s flute music are representative of the skill of modern players on old instruments: they imbue the works with warmth and color entirely suitable for the time in which Bach wrote the music, without unnecessary Romantic-era flourishes and without turning the pieces into display vehicles for Smith or anyone else. This is cooperative music-making at its finest ..."
— InfoDad.com
read full review

"[Joshua Smith’s] playing is delightfully devoid of extreme vibrato and heavy-handed articulation, and displays a consistently thoughtful understanding of the music’s underlying harmonic structure. ... He is also brilliantly accompanied by colleagues Jory Vinikour, harpsichord, and Ann Marie Morgan, baroque cello, and the trio’s teamwork is pretty close to flawless. An extra treat included on this recording is the C minor trio sonata from the Musical Offering (BWV 1079), in which Smith, Vinikour and Morgan are joined by baroque violinist Allison Guest Edberg. Theirs is a first-rate recording of this magnificent piece, in which the bigger arcs of structure and harmony happily coincide with deftly outlined musical nuance."
— The Whole Note
read full review

"Smith does not fail to deliver here, creating a performance that is both intimate and dazzling."
Flutist Quarterly, Fall 2011
read full review

Five Musicians from Marlboro in Amazing Mozart and Messiaen
"... You could not ask for more and, in fact, they did more than you probably would have asked for.
   "Their spunky, teasing performance had everything going for it and it could not have been more entertaining. Smith’s magic flute frolicked and sighed, breathed in tender moments and broke out with brilliance at others. His is a luxurious yet reserved tone always moving from a very balanced center, never assertive, never shy."
- David Patterson, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, Nov. 9, 2009
read full review of this performance

Reviews of "Air"

From Gramophone magazine:
"Delight in beauty of sonority is the common denominator, making for an enchanting disc, beautifully recorded ..."

Read Flute Network review of Air: Music of Debussy and Takemitsu
Joshua Smith, flute; Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; Cynthia Phelps, viola; and Oberlin 21 (Bridget-Michaele Reischl, conductor). Telarc, October 2008

2010 Grammy Nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance

From The Flute Network:
"Smith displays his singing tone and expressive interpretations on Debussy’s Syrinx and Takemitu's Air for solo flute. ... This new CD ("Air") should create a demand for more recordings featuring his full tone, elegant style, and outstanding technique. ... [Smith] reveals a distinctively poetic style and the ability to communicate emotionally in all his performances ..."


From the Akron Beacon Journal:

"... so reliably fabulous."

From Voix des Arts:

In recital with Jory Vinikour, harpsichord: "An occasion of rare mingling of virtuosity, artistic integrity, and uncompromised beauty ... Mr. Smith's playing throughout was of extraordinary technical fluency, vitality, and flexibility. ... This was a sublime performance that pulsed with musicality, profound insight, and a joy in playing that brought a wonderfully fresh feeling to this 'early' music."
read full review of this performance

From The New York Times:

"It takes reminding that an ensemble as seamless as Cleveland's in the later recordings is made up of individuals. Joshua Smith, the flutist in 'Prélude à l'Après-Midi d'un Faune,' provides it eloquently...."

"Josh is the quintessential Cleveland Orchestra player. His taste and artistic proclivities are just right."

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Joshua Smith as become renowned for the clarity and expressiveness of his playing."

"... luminous flute playing by Joshua Smith ... unfolds with utter naturalness of pacing and inflection. It is seamless and the execution is exquisite."

"Joshua Smith was the masterful soloist, instilling lines with bite, subtlety, and bracing virtuosity."

"[Joshua Smith] played with wonderful agility and sweet tone."

"Smith was alert to every twist of phrase and temperament. His sound was penetrating ... and warmly poetic ... [Smith played with] fluency and brio."

"Joshua Smith unfolded lines with subtle radiance ... [Smith played with] attention to nuance and coloration.

"[Joshua Smith] filled the piece with tonal beauty and fluent, facile artistry."

"Joshua Smith ... gave the work a riveting performance. ... He managed the bold, frantic passages with charismatic personality, and he was controlled and glowing in the dulcet moments."

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Smith met ... demands with ease."

From The Boston Globe:

"... superb flutist ..."

From The Akron Beacon Journal:

"Joshua Smith carried off (the Nielsen concerto) with such panache. He made a terrific advocate for this technically challenging piece with an intensity that he kept up throughout."

"Smith has a big sound that carries easily, and he found a way through the difficulties of the work to communicate its emotional center as well."

"[Joshua Smith] conveyed ... ideas with uncommom vitality and conviction. Smith's affinity for the writing came through in a performance that found both the edgy excitement and the lyricism of [the] sophisticated score."

"... incredibly seamless ..."

From The New York Observer:

"... demonstrated ... in particular, the breathtaking lyricism of the young Principal Flutist, Joshua Smith."

From The Morning Journal's Arcade (Cleveland):

"His control and tone are stunning."

"Smith's rendition [of Syrinx] left not a whisper of sound or even breath out of place."

"... thrilling at a pace that would turn on a beat to show the rich pulse of his warm vibrato."

"The piece made his superlative control immediately apparent. ... [He] played with breathtaking sensitivity."

Mr. Smith is represented by Genevieve Spielberg Inc., Personal Representation & Publicity
12 Princeton Street, Summit, NJ 07901, Tel: (908) 608-1325, Fax: (908) 608-1326, gspielberg@aol.com

biography | reviews | engagements | conversation | recordings | repertoire | for media/presenters | contact | home

~ Visit Joshua's blog: Joshua Smith on playing ~