Paul Smith works at the intersection of music performance, technology, business and education. Currently a founder of Harvard Innovation Lab and MassChallenge spin-out, Sonation, he is bringing powerful and simple music performance tools to people around the world. He and his team created “Cadenza,” one of Apple’s “best new apps,” and the first app to accompany live music-making with responsive, AI-driven recordings.
Paul produced digital communications at Rockefeller University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where he worked with Nobel-prize-winning scientists, designers and writers to translate complex biomedical, scientific and economic research into engaging interactive stories for the general public.
At the Fauxharmonic Orchestra he combined computing, music technology, advanced speaker systems and game-playing technology to create recordings and performances for composers, musicians and filmmakers. He was the first to perform a complete Beethoven symphony live, using only digital instruments, and created popular classical tracks for the hit video game “Rock Band.”
In the dot-com era he founded MIT AI Lab spin-off Smith Renaud, Inc., where he served as CEO. He created SaaS products for the world’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, website publishers, marketing departments and media companies, including Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, the American Museum of Natural History, the Asia Society, Workman Publishing, National Hockey League, Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the City of New York.
Paul taught music theory and composition at educational startup Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. Many of his former students now hold positions at major conservatories, opera companies, symphony orchestras, and universities. He also taught digital business strategy at Columbia University.
He studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood at age 16 and was a visiting researcher at the MIT Media Lab, where he perfected musical performances using computer-controlled Bösendorfer pianos and other digital instruments.
A graduate of Oberlin and Brandeis, Paul has degrees in musicology and music theory & composition. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.