Kile Smith

Classical Host

Kile Smith hosts the contemporary American music program Now Is the Time on Saturdays at 9 pm on HD-2 and the classical stream, and co-hosts Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection on the first Saturday of every month at 5 pm with Jack Moore. Discoveries takes a fresh look at music in the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia, where Kile was curator for 18 years. He also fills in as an on-air classical host.
When he's not producing podcasts of CD reviews for WRTI, writing for the Broad Street Review, or teaching private composition, Kile is busy composing orchestral, choral, chamber, and liturgical works. His music is praised by critics and audiences for its emotional power, direct appeal, and strong voice. Gramophone magazine calls his Vespers "spectacular," possessing "sparkling beauty." The Philadelphia Inquirer describes his music as "breathtaking."
He's composed for The Crossing, Piffaro, Orchestra 2001, and the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival. He's also written for David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Jennifer Montone, Philadelphia's principal horn, and Anne Martindale Williams, principal cello of the Pittsburgh Symphony. His website is

The weeds in his ever-widening gardens hint that he needs to get outside more.

Ways to Connect

WRTI’s Bob Perkins joined the 2016 Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame class on October 19th.

A concert piece for cello and orchestra uses sacred music from the center of Jewish tradition. Max Bruch's Kol Nidre is a work with wide appeal from an unlikely composer.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, this Saturday at 5 pm on WRTI... Looking over the landscape of American orchestral music covering the 19th and into the 20th centuries as we have been, we see two names—not American—looming large. One is Beethoven, the other, Wagner. They are still huge now; imagine them in the eyes of American musicians then.

Two Englishmen, Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, slipped it into the Great American Songbook just before it closed, just as rock rolled over sophistication. It begins from below, a slowly twisting Roman candle of a tune, and explodes in the top range of the singer, as the eyes of onlookers reflect the glory of what songs once were.

Now Is the Time, Saturday, September 10th, 9 to 10 pm. On this eve of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, we remember the lives lost to terror, and vow to live on. Aquilo is the Latin word for the wind that comes from the northeast; Arlene Sierra evokes that, air, and fire in this orchestral work.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday September 10th, 5 to 6 pm. Last month we left the Hungarian conductor Anton Seidl in late 19th-century New York City, where he led, at one time or another, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Not too long after, the Spanish composer and pianist Enrique Granados was there, basking in a successful premiere at that same Met. The year was 1916—100 years ago.

How She Danced

Sep 2, 2016

Mischievous, menacing, or minuetting, it's dancing during our Labor Day Weekend Dance Party and on Now Is the Time, Saturday, September 3rd at 9 pm on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at

The first stirrings of music, they say, often accompanied dancing, so on this last official holiday of the summer, let’s dance! Join us from noon Friday all the way through Monday night for WRTI’s Labor Day Weekend Dance Party!

Rudy Van Gelder, the most sought-after audio engineer in jazz for decades, died last week at age 91. He was an exacting technician, but, as WRTI’s Kile Smith reports, there was something else in his recordings that he was striving for.

Blues on Now Is the Time

Aug 19, 2016

It’s blue and it’s the blues on Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 20th at 9 pm, We pick a Blueberry Rag-A-Muffin to begin the program, one of Linda Robbins Coleman’s many delightful piano rags, and then turn to the second movement of David Amram’s Violin Concerto, called Blues, which also includes an extended saxophone solo.