Hungarian-born conductor and musicologist, Mary Terey-Smith, trained at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, studying conducting and composition with Janos Ferencsik, Ferenc Farka, Janos Viski and folk music with Zoltan Kodaly.
Upon graduation at the age of nineteen she was engaged as resident conductor of the Tatabanya Symphony Orchestra (1953-56). In addition, she worked as a part-time vocal coach for the Hungarian State Opera during the same period. Forced to leave the country following the 1956 Revolution, she immigrated to Canada where she divided her time between teaching music in Montreal and working as coach and conductor at the Opera School in Toronto. She undertook graduate studies in Vermont (MA) and in Rochester, N.Y., and was awarded her Ph.D. in musicology in 1971 by the Eastman School of Music (U. of Rochester).
Between 1967-2001, Mary Terey-Smith was a member of the faculty of Western Washington University in Bellingham, where she was the head of the musicology/music history programs, and music director for eight years of the opera workshop. In 1970 she founded the university’s Collegium Musicum, a group that focused on 17th and 18th century vocal and instrumental repertory. This ensemble quickly developed an enviable reputation as one of the finest such university groups in the country. In addition to performances in the USA and Canada, it toured Europe six times between 1990 and 2000, giving concerts in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Romania.
Dr. Terey-Smith’s activities as a musicologist focused on Baroque and early Classical operas in France (Rameau), Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal and orchestral practice in opera accompaniment. She has published numerous articles in various periodicals, edited music, written book reviews and contributed a number of essays for the NEW REVISED GROVE DICTIONARY OF MUSIC & MUSICIANS (2001).
The conductor’s association with the Capella Savaria began in 1995 when preparations for the two Naxos recordings of orchestral suites, drawn from operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, were undertaken. This collaboration continued after these recordings were completed resulting in concert appearances in the USA, Hungary and Germany. In 1999 Dr. Terey-Smith has been asked by the Capella to serve as the orchestra’s artistic advisor, assist in editing Baroque and Classical repertory for concerts/recordings and conduct the orchestra on these works both on concert tours and in recording sessions. There have been a number of highly successful international tours since then, of these, the concert in Kothen at the Bach Hall presented as a part of the J. F. Fasch Festival on April 26, 2001, stands out as a memorable occasion.
Further musical collaboration with the Capella Savaria include two new recordings: “18th CENTURY OVERTURES FOR THE LONDON STAGE” (2003) and “SOLO CANTATAS BY THOMAS ARNE” (Centaur, 2006). She also edited and performed two Masses by Austrian composer Gregor Werner (Haydn’s predecessor) in Budapest with Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis Choir, soloist and the Capella Savaria Baroque Orchestra (2003 and 2006).
Although now retired from her university position, Mary Terey-Smith continues her activites both as a conductor and as a musicologist.