TOP 20 IMPACT MAKERS AWARDS 2020
Robin Angly and Miles Smith
Top 20 Power Couple Impact Maker Award
Sunday, January 19, 2020
The St. Regis Houston
6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Robin Angly and Miles Smith followed similar musical paths in life before meeting, marrying, and championing the city’s artistic and cultural communities together.
Robin can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a major part of her life. She started taking piano lessons at the age of five. Voice lessons came later. This began a romance with music that would continue for the rest of her life. As she was growing up, her eclectic musical tastes led Robin to listen to soprano Joan Sutherland and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and to fall in love with the music of Bach. She went on later in life to sing in the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) Chorus and the Houston Symphony Chorus.
Music was an essential part of Miles’ life from an early age as well. He took clarinet lessons as a child and added voice lessons later. Miles continued playing clarinet at the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the marching band. His developing taste in music led Miles to Wagner and jazz. Although he also eventually sang in the HGO Chorus, he and Robin didn’t meet until later.
Their musical connections and shared passion for music eventually brought Robin and Miles together, and they have been active copatrons of the arts ever since. HGO, Houston Symphony, Da Camera, Ars Lyrica, and Inprint are all institutions that have benefited from their unwavering support. It has been said of the couple that their “tireless advocacy and generous support of many of Houston’s leading cultural organizations has been crucial to artistic growth, financial sustainability, and long-term impact in the community.”
As loyal supporters of HGO, Robin and Miles have been members of its Founders Council, which is vital to the company’s ongoing success, since 2010. Its members make a commitment of monetary gifts over a three-year period that help secure the company’s future. Robin has been on the HGO Board of Directors since 2012 and recently became a member of the executive committee. She is also a member of HGO’s Laureate Society, the studio committee, and the marketing committee. As well, Robin and Miles have made generous donations to HGO special events, the Young Artists Vocal Academy, and HGO’s Ring Cycle. Recently, Robin moved into a leadership position with HGO and is embarking on a campaign with the company to raise $100,000 for the new opera Snowy Day. As a couple, Robin and Miles chaired the HGO Ball in 2015.
Robin’s fondness for Inprint, Houston’s premiere literary arts nonprofit organization whose programs support and engage readers and writers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, is especially evident in her support of The Senior Memoir Workshops. It is one of her special causes. The program, which is so important to seniors, was in danger of being lost. Thanks to Robin’s dedication and efforts, it is still very much alive. She and Miles attend the program’s annual readings together and marvel at the power of the words they hear.
Robin and Miles are also devoted to the Houston Symphony. Miles is chairman of the artistic committee. Their work with the company includes supporting composers in residence. Some of the composers whose work they have helped bring to fruition are Gabriela Lena Frank and Jimmy López, the current composer in residence. López composed Bel Canto, an opera commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago and showcased by PBS. In the near future, Robin and Miles will be involved in supporting Dreamers, an oratorio written by López, which will be performed by the Houston Symphony Chorus and star Ana María Martínez. In 2018, Robin and Miles chaired the Houston Symphony Ball.
After eight years on the board of Ars Lyrica, Robin and Miles are now past members. However, they continue their involvement with the Baroque music ensemble, having made a three-year commitment to help Ars Lyrica present a fully staged opera bi-annually. Robin and Miles were the honorary chairs, and the honorees, at the Ars Lyrica Roaring Twenties Gala in 2017, and Robin was honored at a concert in February of 2018 as part of Ars Lyrica’s movement to recognize some of Houston’s leading female philanthropists.
Robin is also the CKW LUXE 2018 Astral Light Award honoree.
Robin and Miles understand the importance of the next generation in the continuation of Houston’s arts legacy and enjoy working with young people. They are especially proud of Warren and Rachel Ellsworth who chaired HGO Opening Night 2019 as well as currently chair the committee to raise money for Snowy Day.
As a couple, Robin and Miles have been, and continue to be, an essential piece of the mosaic that supports the Houston arts community. Their part in that structure ensures artists will keep on creating masterpieces, audiences of every kind will be enlightened and entertained, and new believers will be brought into the fold.
It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Robin Angly and Miles Smith have been named a Top 20 Power Couple Impact Maker for 2020.