Joannes Julianus Desmet, or Jan Desmet (Ghent 1885 – Gentbrugge 1954) became known under his pseudonym Jean de Smetsky. He composed chamber music, orchestral and piano works, but is best known for his works for concert band.
During the First World War, he was a soldier in the Belgian army, which influenced his life and his artistic inspiration. He composed several songs for the soldiers during the war. Some of his compositions were also used as propaganda by the Belgian army in the territories occupied by the German army. He received several accolades from the Belgian army for his compositions.
Closely associated with military and civilian music for wind players, he composed numerous works for it in his later life. He caused a furore in the US as a marching composer. His famous 1927 circus march March of the Spanish Soldiery was played all over the US, especially for performances with trained bears.
He stayed in the US for a short period. He worked as a conductor at the Flemish Opera in Ghent and at the Opéra in Dijon.
The name Patrouille Fox-Trottante already reveals what it is: a fusion of mars and foxtrot, so crossover. The structure is that of a march, the whole is complemented rhythmically and harmonically with elements from American music. This march is particularly attractive because of the fresh lightness and the hidden humor. Just like Souviens toi! “Ma Belle” by F.C. Costers De Smetsky dedicated his morceau de genre to his friend John Bogaerts, ‘Violon Solo et Chef d’Orchester au Grand Hôtel Métropole d’Anvers’