Graham Smith is equally adept on the double bass and the electric bass, with more than 15 years of professional experience in diverse musical settings including orchestral, chamber, jazz, musical theatre, singer-songwriter, folk, pop/rock, and numerous world musics. He enjoys a busy freelance career, appearing throughout Toronto and beyond. Recent performance highlights include opening for Serena Ryder at the Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre with singer-songwriter Jeffery Straker, rocking out with tribute bands Red Zeppelin, Absolute Journey and Absolute Leppard, performing with the world music and dance company Ensemble Topaz, and playing in the pit orchestra for the highly acclaimed new musical Life After (winner of six Dora awards).
As a composer, Graham's interest is split between contemporary classical and jazz, and he is also in demand as an arranger, transcriber, and copyist. Composition highlights include a sixty-minute requiem mass for large orchestra and mixed SATB chorus, and a three-movement suite for 18-piece jazz ensemble, as well as several chamber and solo works. In 2016 Graham was a featured composer for Art Song Lab in Vancouver, BC where his piece Shadow Street was premiered. Written for tenor and piano, Shadow Street sets text by Vancouver writer Judith Penner.
Private instruction is an integral part of Graham's musical life. He currently teaches double bass and theory lessons at Branksome Hall's Music Conservatory, and maintains his own studio in central Toronto, offering instruction on the double bass and electric bass, in all areas of music theory including basic rudiments, harmony, counterpoint, analysis, post-tonal theory, and jazz theory, as well as in contemporary classical and jazz composition and arranging. He has more than a decade of teaching experience and welcomes students of all levels and all ages.
In 2016 Graham received his PhD from York University. He was awarded a prestigious SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his dissertation research which focuses on the requiem mass. Graham also holds an MA from York and a BMus from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. He has been the recipient of numerous awards during his university studies including the Lawrence Heisey Graduate Award at York, and the Graham George Memorial Scholarship in Composition at Queen's.
Graham resides in Toronto's Christie Pits neighbourhood with his wife, cellist Erika Nielsen.