Over the last 40 years, Lewis Smoley has accumulated the largest private collection of classical recordings in the world. His collection, on both LP and CD, spans every genre, style, and period in classical music.
His passion began in the 1970s, while studying conducting at the Juilliard School and Queens College in New York. His collection includes many thousand rare and unique recordings, venturing well outside traditionally canonized composers and extending to entire countries whose native music is seldom heard by American ears.
Smoley’s scholarship on the subject is extensive and includes numerous books and essays on various topics including the critically acclaimed collectors resource The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler: Critical Commentary on Recordings (Greenwood Press, 1996). In addition to his publications, Smoley has hosted several New York classical radio shows, and taught classes on Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Ralph Vaughan Williams at The New School, New York University, and C.W. Post College.
He has served as president (2008) and vice president (1978-2010) of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York, and is considered one of the world’s greatest experts on Mahler’s music.