Dellwood's Dr. Reid Smith: Pianist, Promoter

An accomplished Dellwood pianist welcomes a Russian prodigy to his home for an American debut.

Dr. Reid Smith may not be performing open heart surgery, but he can make magic on the 88 ivory keys of a piano, and he’s right here in Dellwood.

Smith’s career as a pianist started when he was four years old. When he was six years old he started to accompany his church’s choir; at eight, he gave his first solo recital. By age nine, he had started teaching his own lessons in his piano teacher’s classroom. At 12 years old, he was delegated as the church organist and before he was a teenager, he had won his first national piano competition. The rest, he says, is history.

Smith was educated at Boston University, Vienna Hochschule fur Musik in Austria and The Juilliard School.  For the past 24 years, he has also been teaching music at both Minnehaha and Mounds Park Academies.

For eight years he toured the United States as a soloist and he has recorded two albums. Smith has also been a member of several prestigious faculties and juries at competitions. This includes being a jury member at the 2nd annual Maria Herrero International Piano Competition and the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance in Spain this past July.

In addition to judging the performances, Smith took his own students to that very competition in Spain. 12-year-old Emma Taggart dazzled the judges at the world competition and walked away with first prize, becoming one of a select few Minnesotan pianists to ever win an international competition. She recently put on a concert of her skills for the public in Mahtomedi.

In addition to his own performances and lessons, Smith also produces the occasional piano concert. His next project: the American debut of Russian pianist Alexander Yakovlev, in Smith’s Dellwood home, at the end of October. Yakovlev has won more than 50 international competitions; Smith says “he is probably the finest pianist I’ve heard in a long time and certainly at the same level as Lang Lang.”

Yakovlev will put on a display of piano expertise that has been referred to as “monumental and difficult.”  For his American debut, he will perform pieces from Mozart, Brahms, and Stravinsky, to name a few. Smith says this “will be the piano event for 2012 in the Twin Cities.”

From Minnesota, he will travel to perform in Cincinnati and then to Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

Tickets are $50 and $30 in advance. Space is limited; please RSVP by October 15th.