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John F. Smith (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Frank Smith OBE is a British musician and trade unionist.

Born in Leicestershire in 1950 and educated at Hinckley Grammar School, he attended the Leicestershire County School of Music and was a member of the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1968. After studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1968 to 1971, where he was the winner of the Sidney Langston Prize for Brass playing and was awarded a Licensiate diploma (LRAM), Smith joined the English National Opera (ENO) orchestra in 1974. He remained there, as Principal Tuba, for almost 20 years. While at ENO he enrolled in the Open University from which he gained a B.Sc (1st Class Hons) in politics and sociology.

In 1994 he was appointed a full-time official of the Musicians' Union (MU) administering the Union's London District. During this time he continued in adult education gaining an MA in Industrial Relations at Keele University. He was promoted to the post of Assistant General Secretary (Media) in 1997. In this role he was responsible for the MU's collective bargaining agreements with broadcasters and audio and audio-visual producers. This meant that he had the authority to administer the non-assigned performers' rights of MU members. At this time he developed an expertise in performers' rights and has been recognised as an expert in this area by, amongst others, the European Commission. In December 2002. Smith was elected General Secretary of the MU, he retired from this role in July 2017.[1]

In addition to his UK activities, Smith has been President of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) since 2004, a position that he was re-elected to in May 2021. This role involves representing musicians’ interests in discussions with organisations such as UNESCO, WIPO and the European Parliament and Commission.

Smith has held directorships of the British Copyright Council, UK Music, the Educational Recording Agency. He is a former president of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). He was a member of the TUC General Council from 2007 to 2017 and a member of the TUC Executive Committee from 2012 to 2017.[2]

Smith was appointed Chair of the music licensing company PPL with effect from January 2016.[3]

In 2018 he was appointed a Governor of the Royal Society of Musicians, becoming Chairman in January 2021.

In January 2018 he was the recipient of an Association of British Orchestras (ABO) Special Award.

Smith was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to music.[4]


  1. ^ Hemley, Matthew (2017-02-02). "John Smith to step down as general secretary of Musicians' Union". The Stage. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  2. ^ November 13th, Dom Gourlay; 2013. "Celebrating 120 years of the Musicians Union: DiS meets the General Secretary of the MU". DrownedInSound. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "New role for Musicians' Union's John Smith". ArtsProfessional. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  4. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B14.

External links

Trade union offices
Preceded by
Derek Kay
General Secretary of the Musicians' Union
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ben Marshall
President of the General Federation of Trade Unions
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 20 August 2021, at 20:48
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