Alan Smith was born in Brisbane. His early violin lessons were with Elizabeth Morgan and John Curro, followed by tertiary studies, leading to a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Honours), with Beryl Kimber at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide. In 1982 he was awarded a DAAD scholarship for postgraduate study at the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf with Gottfried Schneider.
Whilst in Germany he toured extensively as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of the Young German Philharmonic and was Concertmaster of the Rhineland Chamber Orchestra, Cologne for several years. He also performed as a soloist on German radio and appeared on Spanish television. As leader of the Arioso Quartet, he studied chamber music with the Amadeus Quartet in Cologne and gave concerts in Germany, Austria, Italy and England.
Alan returned to Australia in 1985 and was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. He appeared as soloist with the ASO and the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra and gave many concerts with the Arioso Quartet, including a tour of New Zealand and Musica Viva concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. In 1991 he was appointed Concertmaster of the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra. He was a soloist in the 1992 Barossa Music Festival and led the 1993 Barossa Festival Orchestra. In 1994, he became a member of the New Music group ‘Lights’, with whom he performed and recorded.
In 1995 Alan returned to Brisbane to take up the position of Concertmaster of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He has given highly acclaimed performances as soloist with the QSO in Brisbane and as part of the orchestra’s northern tour. Notable solo engagements have included performances of Benjamin Frankel’s triple concerto, which was recorded for CD and the Beethoven triple concerto. In 2002 and 2003, Alan performed in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. In 2004, he was a soloist in the Energex Brisbane Festival, playing double concerti with violinist Nigel Kennedy, who also invited Alan to play as a guest performer at his recital. In 2006, Alan again played as a soloist with Nigel Kennedy upon his return to Brisbane for two sell-out concerts with The Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Alan stepped down from the position of concertmaster of the QSO at the start of 2011 to create time for broader musical opportunities. Since then, he has recorded for ABC FM, appeared as a guest soloist with Hector McDonald at the 2011 International Horn Symposium and become an associate artist with the Southern Cross Soloists. Alan continues to appear regularly as concertmaster and soloist with the QSO. He has also played as guest-concertmaster with the Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras and has made frequent appearances as concertmaster with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Alan plays on a violin by Jose Contreras made in 1770.