Alan Smith was born in London in 1962 and was spent his childhood in Croydon. He sang with various local choirs and attended the nearby Royal School of Church Music, where he began organ lessons with Michael Fleming at the age of ten. He was appointed as Organist and Choirmaster of a local church at the age of 16, and later became Organ Scholar at Kings' College, London, where he studied from 1981 to 1984. As part of his music degree, he specialized in composition, studying with Nicola LeFanu, David Lumsdaine and George Nicholson.
Following postgraduate training at the London Institute of Education, Alan began his teaching career. After working in various schools, he became Head of Music at Hazelwick School, Crawley in 1990, a post he continues to hold. In the same year, he came to some prominence by winning the RSCM's annual composing competition. His successful entry, Let the Peoples Praise You, became his first published piece and continues to be widely performed. Since then, his choral compositions have won several awards, most recently the Thornesian Prize in 2003 and an honorable mention in the 2004 Vanguard Premieres Competition.
Alan's output is predominantly of choral and vocal music, much of it written for specific choirs or occasions, and his catalogue runs to over 150 works. In the UK, his music is published by Animus, Curiad, Cantiones Press, Escorial Edition, Fagus Music and RSCM, while in America, he is published by Abingdon Press, CanticaNOVA, OUP, Pavane and Roger Dean.
Since 1998, Alan has been Director of Music at St Andrew's church in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, where he lives with his wife and three children.