Smart, George Thomas
b Soho, London (Middx) 1776, d Bloomsbury, C London (Middx) 1867. Chorister at the Chapel Royal; then at 15 he was appointed organist at St James’s Chapel, Hampstead Rd, London. He played the violin at Johann Salomon’s concerts, some under J Haydn, and was music director, conductor, harpsichordist, and singing teacher at Covent Garden. Knighted in Dublin, 1811. In 1813 he was a founder-member of the Philharmonic Society, its conductor until 1844, and a teacher in much demand because of his skill in the Handelian tradition. He returned to the Chapel Royal in 1822 as organist and composer, conducting (from his organ-seat) the music at the coronations of both William IV and Queen Victoria, the 1836 premiere in Liverpool of Mendelssohn’s St Paul, and at other festivals all over the UK. During an extensive European tour in 1825, on which he took detailed notes, he paid Beethoven a memorable visit in Vienna, and later promoted the Mendelssohn Scholarship. He wrote Divine Amusement, published by his music-dealer father c1795 and a 2nd edn some 10 years later. His record of 75 years as a professional organist has rarely been equalled; his nephew was H T Smart; see the next entry. Nos.127=768.