David Lyndon Smith

David Lyndon Smith

Music makes the world go round

The saying, “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” certainly rings true for David Lyndon Smith. Born in the UK, Smith grew up watching his father, a trumpeter, practise religiously. At 10, he went for his first music lesson, and it sparked a passion in him, for Smith went on to attain a degree at the Royal Academy of Music, before graduating with a post-grad degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Today, Smith is a lecturer at NAFA, a member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and, despite being classically trained, is co-founder and artistic director of the Singapore International Jazz Festival.

Now in its fourth year, this year’s festival will see local talents such as Aaron James Lee -whom Smith describes as one to watch – and Nick Zavier, who’ll be sharing the stage with international jazz musician David Foster, entertain the crowd. By any measure, the festival is already a success before it has even begun.

In 10 years, I hope to have a month-long global jazz festival. We’ll have some highlights and major concerts at the end, but we’ll also have lots of smaller activities throughout the month. I’d like everyone to participate, from amateur to professionals. We’d like everyone in the world to come to Singapore to celebrate jazz and be influenced by the spirit of improvisation. School children can dress differently, chefs can up with ‘improv’ dishes, it doesn’t just have to be music.

I’m really excited to see Esperanza Spalding, she’s one of my favourites. Then there’s also The Earth, Wind & Fire Experience and Raul Midon.

I’ve played in many different countries and on different stages, but Esplanade is one of the best halls in the world. It’s beautiful, and the sound and architecture are amazing. There’s also Victoria Concert Hall. There’s a new hall in Hamburg that has just been built, called Elbphilharmonie, and I’d like to play there.

I don’t have a favourite artist or composer. It depends on the mood I’m in, and what day of the week it is. For orchestral music, there’s nothing better than Mozart. I also enjoy baroque music and everything jazz. I’m a trumpet player so I like Chet Baker. I love the purity of his sound on the trumpet.

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As a teacher, I’m really happy to share my knowledge with students. Talking to them also energises me and helps with my performance, especially when we think about bad habits and technical mistakes. I also want to inspire them, to get them to play better than they think they can.

I really enjoy having friends over and cooking for dinner parties. My girlfriend and I love cooking and going on culinary adventures. Last June, we went on a month-long gastronomic tour to Barcelona, Italy, Sicily, London and Amsterdam. We picked up loads of ideas recipes, sauces and oils. My next holiday will be in June, and I’m really looking forward to that. Maybe we’ll explore Spain.

I collect vinyls, cookery books, kitchen appliances and trumpets. I must have 30 trumpets at home, four of which I bring bring when I travel. I have a ‘work’ trumpet, it’s a handmade trumpet from Eclipse. I bought it about three years ago.

The most thoughtful gift I’ve received is a little bronze statue of a trumpet player. My girlfriend was travelling and she bought it because it reminded her of me. It’s a lovely gesture.

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