John G Smith is a pianist, music director and composer based in London. His career began as a jazz player, touring with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, John Dankworth and Roadside Picnic, with whom he recorded many albums and performed all over Europe, including Montreux Jazz Festival and Ronnie Scott’s club. However his versatile musicianship has led him to work in many very different situations.
In the West End he is currently Associate Musical Director at Hamilton, & Juliet, and The Tina Turner Musical, and previously was MD for Beautiful! The Carole King Musical, Les Miserables, Bombay Dreams, Fame, Daddy Cool, The Beautiful Game and guest conductor for Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King and others.
John tours with Queen Symphonic, Elaine Paige, Louise Clare Marshall’s Seriously Mendes, and travelled throughout the UK with Sting, promoting his show The Last Ship. John has a longstanding relationship with Ant and Dec, teaching them both to play piano and perform live on TV with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
In 2016, John played solo piano for 60,000 people as the opener for Take That in their Hyde Park concert.
Even during the Coronavirus Lockdown he had a few gigs, including a YouTube concert to an empty Albert Hall with Katherine Jenkins on VE Day.
Another lockdown achievement was composing an award-nominated album, Big Band Hip, now available on all platforms.
John also conducted Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey, Journey to the West. In 2013/14/15 John was Musical Director for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV. He has performed/recorded with Michael Bublé, Joss Stone, Mica Paris, Mari Wilson, Darcey Bussell, Elaine Paige, The Nolans, Georgie Fame, Paul Carrack (of Mike and the Mechanics), Robbie Williams, Chris Moyles and N-Dubz.
He also played solo piano on several film soundtracks including Last Chance Harvey (Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson) and Passion Play (Megan Fox, Bill Murray). In September 2012 he was honoured to play solo keyboard at the Paralympics Closing Ceremony. John played keyboard 1 in Sam Mendes’ hit production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
In 2014 John formed a band with guitarist James Graydon and bassist Zoltan Dekany (later adding the sax of Andy Panayi and drums of Dave Elliot), performing John’s own songs and arrangements.
Elaine Paige liked the band so much she asked them to be her new backing band, and to play support as well, for several tours in the UK and worldwide.
John has also scored several cartoon series for Nickelodeon, France TV1 and the Disney Channel, including Lola and Virginia, Sandra the Fairytale Detective, and Lucky Fred.