Moments of Connection Through Music

Jeffrey Dennis Smith

Jeffrey Dennis Smith

As a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater, composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith wrote the one-act opera WHY IS EARTHA KITT TRYING TO KILL ME?: A LOVE STORY with librettist David Johnston.  A tour de force love story and mad scene all in one, the score blends elements of jazz and musical theater in an homage to operatic tradition.

Jeffrey Smith photo resized

With lyricist Shoshana Greenberg Smith wrote the theatrical song cycle LIGHTNING MAN, which was presented in concert as part of the ANT Fest 2011 at Ars Nova in New York City.  Lightning is personified and truth is blurred in this story of Roy Sullivan, who in real life survived seven lightning strikes. 

Non-theatrical works include ALL SYSTEMS GO, commissioned and recorded by The Iowa/Hungary Percussion Project. His piece TIGER DANCE was performed at the 2011 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and has been released on albums by marimba soloists Scott Herring and Julia Gaines.  He also contributed music for BOWES ACADEMY, a short film by director Greg Emetaz and MinorApocalypse Films. 

Jeffrey was a Resident Composer with the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer’s Residency, participated in the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, and studied at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. 

He was a Visiting Guest Artist in percussion at the University of Northern Iowa in the fall of 2001, and he holds degrees from Tisch School of the Arts, Northwestern University and the University of Northern Iowa. 


photo by Francisco Lupini Basagoiti


March 2022 - World premiere

St. Olaf Band premiered IN THE MORNING LIGHT WE SAY GOODBYE for symphonic band.

July 2018 - World premiere

UrbanArias presented the world premiere production of WHY IS EARTHA KITT TRYING TO KILL ME: A LOVE STORY featuring tenor Keith Jameson.