The Kennedy Center

Tony Small


Tony Small has won national composer/lyricist awards in Jazz, Gospel, Classical, and Musical Theater genres and served as an Interdisciplinary Arts Guru and Resident Artist worldwide. As a piano prodigy at 4 years of age, he began playing for the church choir at the tender age of 6 and became the paid music director at 11 for the adult and youth choirs.
For almost 30 years, he has created and managed world-class multidisciplinary, cultural, and “Edutainment” programs in four major cities (Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Washington DC) for youth. The Indianapolis Star quotes that the “Stage becomes classroom for kids” at the Madame Walker Theatre, and Chicago Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research Quarterly reported “No one doubts that if Tony has his way, every child who works with him will be one of tomorrow’s leaders.”
Tony’s original works include 4 family musicals, 3 Holiday and Christmas musicals, 1 Cultural anthology, 1 Easter cantata, 1 operetta, and hundreds of multi-genre compositions that have been featured at the nation’s most celebrated cultural institutions, including: the Kennedy Center, Madame Walker Theatre, Smithsonian, Chicago DuSable Museum, Indianapolis Children’s Museum, The Hayti Heritage Center, Eubie Blake International Jazz Center, Reginald Lewis Museum Theatre, National Children’s Museum, The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Underground Song for exhibit premiere with Bill Nye The Science Guy, and a national FOX TV feature of his 911 memorial song and video. Awards include: 2012 & 2009 National Meet The Composer Award, Tony Award–winning BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Composer Alum (New York Times calls it “The Harvard of Musical Theatre), 2008 American Composer Forum Award Winner, 2008 Stellar for “I Am” recorded by Maurette Brown Clark (Grammies of Gospel), Guest Actor on the 2008 final HBO WIRE — Director of boys choir featured on the 2008 sound track, 2007 Maryland State Arts Composer Award, and a 2000 White House millennium–winning Composer/Playwright Residency (America’s top 55 Community Artists) spearheaded by Hillary Clinton and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Tony currently serves as the 1st Regional Artistic/S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington; he is also one of 12 members on the national Boys & Girls Club STEM Advisory Council. He has served as Artistic Director for the Historic Madame Walker Theatre (A National Landmark built by Madame CJ Walker), Lecturer of Fine Arts at Chicago Loyola University, Training Director for the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Linkages Program (a national STEM Pilot) and Founding Director of the Urban League’s Camp Smart (North Chicago/Waukegan). Artist Residencies include: Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts (8 Baltimore public schools from 2005-07 utilizing Tony’s Edutainment/STEAM curricula), Baltimore and Chicago Arch-Diocese Schools, Baltimore Parks and Recreation, Morgan State University Summer Arts Camp (Baltimore, MD), Y.E.P.A.W. - Youth Performance Arts Workshop (Akron Ohio and Cape Town, South Africa), Howard Street Alternative School for high school for juveniles (Chicago, IL), 3 Chicago Public Schools and City Lights (Chicago’s oldest after-school program) and YMCA & YWCAs in Chicago and Indianapolis. He has 25+ years of ecumenical expertise from serving as Music Minister/Worship Arts Director in churches with 5,000+ memberships.

Watch Past Performances

Video 12/22/2018: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington presents: Holiday Sing

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington presents: Holiday Sing. A multi-genre celebration of holiday traditions around the world, featuring holiday classics and original compositions accompanied by a 15-piece chamber orchestra and a mass choir. Renowned artists perform alongside underserved youth to benefit arts instruction and inner-city programming that has served the Greater Washington area for more than 135 years.

Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the States Gallery starting at approximately 5 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Video 9/30/2014: Tony Small: Selections from Qadar: An Operetta for Children

Scenes from a new opera by Tony Small introduce western audiences to the music and culture of Oman through a seamless exchange of African and Arabic music genres.

Tony Small