Andrew Smith (b. 1970) is a British-Norwegian composer with a growing international reputation for choral and vocal music that links tradition with a contemporary idiom. In the words of Alexandra Coghlan, “…Smith’s compositions incorporate medieval textures and chant, which are reflected and inflected through [his] own contemporary idiom, blurring the modal clarity of plainchant with vivid cluster-chords and dissenting moments of chromatic or dissonant color. The effect is at once familiar and unsettling in its strangeness – a distorted and original viewpoint on the past.»
Andrew read music and English at the University of Oslo. His composing, a hobby since the age of eight, began in earnest in the late 1990s when he wrote a piece for the newly-formed Trio Mediaeval (Norway). The subsequent recording of this and other music for the Trio brought Andrew to the attention of the American audience and led the way to collaborations with American groups such as New York Polyphony (two of whose discs, to which Andrew contributed pieces, were nominated for Grammy awards) and The Girl Choristers of Washington National Cathedral, as well as many performances by American ensembles.
In 2015 Andrew was commissioned to write a piece for the leading English early music ensemble Gothic Voices; of his setting of “Stond wel, Moder, under rode”, Andrew Mellor writes in Gramophone: “It’s fascinating how Smith picks up on the harmonic DNA of those ancient pieces while tapping a different harmonic language; the disc’s highlight comes when his setting of Stond wel, Moder under rode follows the anonymous 13th-century setting of the same text, each piece supercharged with the ensemble’s raw, intense but poetic style founded on the very basics of vocal communication.”
Andrew’s “Requiem”, composed for the Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir in response to the tragic events in Norway in July 2011, premiered in Trondheim in 2012 and made a three-stop tour of the UK in 2013 featuring the prize-winning Wells Cathedral School Choralia (cond. Christopher Finch) and Norwegian jazz musicians Arve Henriksen (trumpet) and Ståle Storløkken (keyboards). The work is featured on the Nidaros Cathedral Girls Choir album LUX, which was awarded a Grammy for Best Immersive Audio Album in January 2020.
Andrew has been commissioned and performed by numerous Norwegian choirs including most recently the Norwegian Girls Choir, and Oslo Cathedral Choir, who performed a specially commissioned piece in a nationally televised church service on 29 August 2018 to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of the king and queen of Norway. Recent commissions include Lukaspasjon, a setting in Norwegian of the Passion according to St. Luke for Oslo Cathedral Choir, and O Antiphons for the Khorikos chamber choir in New York, premiered in December 2019.