We are distressed to share news of the death, in his sleep, of the well-liked, modest and warmly adventurous New York pianist, Joseph Smith. He was 66 and had not been previously unwell.
His show “Joseph Smith’s Piano Bench” aired for two years on NPR’s Performance Today and his column, “Rare Finds,” appeared in Piano Today magazine from 1993. He was editor of eleven piano anthologies and made several recording, mostly of newly discovered works.
Benita Meshulam, a close friend, writes: ‘Joe was the most curious musician I have ever known, always looking for forgotten works, studying them thoroughly. He was interested not only in the works but the composers and investigated everything. He was a pianist who didn’t care about the condition of the pianos he performed on. It was his message that he wanted to get across–a real musician’s musician who lived and breathed his art. He was also the kindest and most generous colleague.’
He made an appearance in Ethan Hawke’s recent movie ‘Seymour’, about his mentor, Seymour Bernstein.