Smith, [Vielehr] Julia (Frances)
- Adrienne Fried Block
(b Caldwell, TX, Jan 25, 1905; d New York, April 27, 1989). American composer, pianist and writer on music. She graduated from North Texas State University (1930) and studied piano and then composition on a fellowship at the Juilliard Graduate School (1932–9), where she gained a diploma. At New York University she completed the MA (1933) and the PhD (1952). She was the pianist for the Orchestrette Classique of New York, a women’s orchestra (1932–9), and gave concerts in Latin America, Europe, and the USA, playing much American music, especially that of Aaron Copland. She taught at Hartt College (1941–6), where she founded the department of music education.
All Smith’s operas and orchestral works have been performed, some frequently. Her music, which has an appealing directness, is tonal, often dissonant, and incorporates elements of jazz, folk and 20th-century French harmony. The String Quartet, her best chamber work, uses irregular metres and driving rhythms; and the operas ...