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 kilesmith.com.

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

Ways to Connect

Lines point every which way on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 6th at 9 pm. Mathew Rosenblum starts us off with Sharpshooter for orchestra, and then we scale it way back to Steven Stucky’s Dialogs for solo cello, from Caroline Stinson’s CD Lines.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, February 6th, 5-6 pm... If it’s a small world, then the 19th-century world of American classical music was tiny. Last month we looked at George Frederick Bristow of New York, the first native-born composer to get a hearing from that new American institution, the symphony orchestra. Now we meet John Knowles Paine—for the second time; we heard his music on another Discoveries eight years ago.

The recording industry gives out the GRAMMY Awards in two weeks, and WRTI’s Kile Smith looks at the classical categories, which include some local names.


Music comes in threes and twos on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 30th at 9 pm. Ursula Mamlok’s music is always smart, always compelling, and in Three Part Fugue and Three Bagatelles she offers us solo piano works three decades apart. Joseph Fennimore’s piano writing also appears twice, with Three Pieces and, from his 24 Romances, the Third.

Before Richard Strauss, before Richard Wagner, more than Hansel and Gretel, and even more than Mozart, the most German opera is, and always will be, Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber.

Spheres, of sorts, are in line for Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 23rd at 9 pm. A solo piano chases itself canonically in all in due time by Nils Vigeland; Jenny Q Chai is the pianist. The Infinite Sphere is the name Lawrence Dillon gives to his Fourth String Quartet. He spins rondos and rounds within two movements, hailing a Blaise Pascal quote: “Infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

It’s an odd name for an odd work that almost wasn’t written. But it premiered 72 years ago this week, and as WRTI’s Kile Smith reports, this piece by Paul Hindemith is one of the most popular orchestral works of the 20th century.


New is the word of the day on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 9th at 9 pm. David Ludwig set The New Colossus, the famous words by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty, after 9/11, and its timeless message always resonates. From David Starobin’s New Music with Guitar, Vol. 8 is the always smart and attractive music of Paul Lansky; we’ll hear his Partita. James Primosch gets down with “Daddy-O’s New Groove,” the last movement from his Sonata-Fantasia for piano and synthesizer, here played by the brilliant (and Grammy®-Award winning) Lambert Orkis.

At the beginning of a new year, consider the beginning of American orchestral music. George Frederick Bristow was the first American-born composer to succeed with that transplanted European institution, the symphony orchestra.

A young mother wanted to sing to her children. She wrote poems based on a story by the Brothers Grimm and asked her brother to set them to music. He did, but then kept working with them, and in two years those songs turned into Hansel and Gretel.

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