Smart, Henry



Important English conductor; began his musical education under William Cramer, and when only fourteen played violin at Covent Garden and at the Concerts of Ancient Music, played both violin and principal viola. In 1803 he retired from the musical profession to join his father in the brewing business, but when this failed he returned to music, and in 1809 became leader at the English Opera House. He conducted at Drury Lane from its opening in 1812 until 1821, led the Lenten Oratorios from 1813, and sometimes conducted concerts of the Philharmonic Society. He was an excellent orchestra leader, and took great pride in the Drury Lane band, which he had built up entirely of English material. In 1820 he opened a piano factory, where he made instruments having an improved touch, for which he obtained a patent in 1823. He also invented a metronome. He died in Dublin, where he had gone to superintend the debut of a pupil. His ballet, Laurette, was successfully performed at King's Theatre.