University of North Florida Music Professors
Simon Shiao, violin
Gary Smart, piano
Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831)
French violin virtuoso, educator, and composer. Although he composed
about 40 operas and 19 violin concertos, his best known work is the 1796
collection of 42 études ou caprices, still used in the study of the violin.
After seeing Kreutzer perform in Vienna, Beethoven dedicated his 9th
Violin Sonata to him. Ironically, Kreutzer deemed it unplayable, and never
performed the work that has secured his place in music history.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Transcendent German composer, whose music is the culmination of the
“Classical” style and the foundation of the “Romantic.” Only lately rivaled
by Mozart, Beethoven has remained the best known Western classical
composer for 200 years. Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata was composed in
1803, two years after he began to lose his hearing. By 1819, Beethoven
was completely deaf but continued to produce revolutionary masterworks.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Quintessentially French composer, pianist, and critic, whose music led
the way for many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy,
usually identified as the chief proponent of musical “impressionism,”
proved himself to be the true successor to Chopin in writing for the piano.
His two sets of Préludes continue a Baroque tradition, while expanding
harmonic language and piano technique in ways previously unimagined.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Russian composer and conductor, and one of the greatest pianists of all
time. Although of the 20th Century, Rachmaninoff’s music remained
firmly rooted in 19th Century Russian Romanticism. Temporarily eschewed
by post-War critics for his lack of modernism, Rachmaninoff’s
sweeping melodies and lush harmonies have kept him a favorite of audiences,
and assure his music a permanent place in the concert hall.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Enduringly popular Russian composer whose melodic invention and orchestral
brilliance remain unsurpassed. Among his best loved works are The
1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, six symphonies, and
the ballets Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. His Violin
Concerto and Piano Concerto No. 1 are cornerstones of the repertoire.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Great Russian author, best known for his monumental War and Peace
(1863-69) and the tragic Anna Karenina (1873-77). Tolstoy's novella The
Kreutzer Sonata (1890), written after he hosted a performance of the
titular piece, centers on a man driven to murder his wife after a similar
performance. Accused of preaching immorality through this story,
Tolstoy was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church as a
Simon Shiao, Violinist
Simon Shiao is the Gerson Yessin Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Florida
in Jacksonville. A versatile performer, he holds the distinction of having performed at Carnegie Hall in
three different capacities; as a recitalist, and with both string quartet and orchestra.
Dr. Shiao has appeared around the world in concert, as well as on broadcasts of CNN’s Science and
Technology program and on Public Radio’s Live on WGBH Radio. Highlights of his performances include
concerts at the Museum of Oceanography in Monte Carlo, the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, the Bliss Centre for
the Performing Arts in Belize, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, and as soloist with the New
World Symphony in Miami. He has also appeared at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, A Winter
Festival in Jerusalem, and the Heidelberg Schloss Festspiele in Germany.
As co-concertmaster of the New World Symphony, Dr. Shiao led that orchestra at Davies Symphony Hall in
San Francisco under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and John Adams. He currently performs with
the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra in Wyoming. At
the University of North Florida, he teaches violin and viola and is the Director of Orchestral Studies. He has
adjudicated the Music Teachers’ National Association Young Artist Competitions, and has presented lecture
recitals and master classes at numerous universities and conservatories in the U.S., Belize, and Taiwan.
Dr. Shiao holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and Master and Doctor of
Musical Arts degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Shiao recently became a
naturalized citizen of the U.S. and lives in Riverside with his wife, Jacksonville Symphony violinist Anna
Genest and their 8 month old puppy, Ernie.
Gary Smart, Pianist
Professor of Piano and
Composition, University of
• B.M., M.M. Indiana University
• D.M.A. Yale University
Dr. Smart's career has encompassed a wide range of activities as composer, classical and jazz pianist, and teacher.
Always a musician with varied interests, he may be the only pianist to have studied with Yale scholar/
keyboardist Ralph Kirkpatrick, the great Cuban virtuoso Jorge Bolet, and the master jazz pianist Oscar
Peterson. A true American pluralist, Dr. Smart composes and improvises a music that reflects an abiding interest
in Americana, jazz and world musics, as well as the Western classical tradition.
A former student at the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne, Germany, Dr. Smart’s compositions have
been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Music Educator's National
Conference, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His
"Concordia" for orchestra won the Concordia jazz composition award, and was premiered at Lincoln
Center, New York. Dr. Smart's compositions are published by Margun Music (Boston), and his work
has been recorded on Mastersound Recording (Toronto).
He has spent two residencies in Japan, teaching in programs at Osaka University and Kobe College.
Dr. Smart has also taught in Indonesia as a "Distinguished Lecturer in Jazz" under the auspices
of the Fulbright program. Since 1978, he has been professor and chair of the music department at the
University of Wyoming, where he received the "President's Award" for outstanding faculty. From
1999-2003, he was the Chairman of the UNF Music Department.