Smith, Julia (1905-1989) | University of North Texas Special Collections
Name: Smith, Julia (1905-1989)
Historical Note: Julia Smith was born in Denton, TX in 1905 and took her first piano lesson from her mother. She later studied piano with Harold von Mickwitz of Dallas while she was a student at North Texas State Teachers' College. She graduated in 1930 with a degree in English and went to New York to study piano performance at the Juilliard School of Music. Her teacher, Carl Friedberg, encouraged her to pursue composition at the School. Smith became a composition fellow and spent five more years at Juilliard studying with Rubin Goldmark and Frederick Jacobi. In 1938, Smith married architect Oscar Veilehr. The following year, Smith's first opera, Cynthia Parker, received its premiere at her alma mater. The opera was based on the legendary Texas abduction and recapture of its title character. Cynthia Parker enjoyed a much-publicized premiere. Smith's next opera, The Stranger of Manzano, was also premiered at NTSTC (1945). Best known for her six operas and biography of Aaron Copland (1955), Smith spent over fifty years as a composer, pianist, and advocate of American music.