‘My dear Sir, I never in my life played upon a gridiron’: George Smart as organist

Sir George Thomas Smart (1776–1867), the 150th anniversary of whose death falls this year, is not as well known to the general musical public as he should be, not least because he was the first British musician to wield a baton over his forces and the first to take sole charge of a musical performance.  During a very long life, his activities and interests were extensive.  He was both a superb organiser and administrator, and a very able musician. Thus, when George Smart chaired the first General Meeting of the College of Organists on 5 July 1864, he brought with…