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

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, July 2nd, 5-6 pm.... Recently on Discoveries we’ve been looking at the beginning generations of American composers of orchestral music. In the last decades of the 19th century they began making their way to Europe—mostly to Germany—to study their craft, which they then brought back. MacDowell, Chadwick, Parker, Paine, and others are prime examples of this pilgrimage. Their legacy remains to this day, through their music and their students.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, June 4, 5 to 6 pm... At the end of the 19th century, many thought that Edward MacDowell was the great composer America had been waiting for. He may have been. But if so, he was a great American composer cut down in his prime. The music of MacDowell is lyrical, vigorous, and at times gripping, but we get the feeling that we are witnessing the first blossoming of a great artist, one about to enter the later stages of a career that never happened.

Classical music on WRTI’s Memorial Day Weekend looks back and moves forward! Of course we'll have American and other classical favorites all weekend long as we remember the meaning of Memorial Day. But we’ll also hear new works of remembrance.

On this month’s Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday May 7th, 5 to 6 pm, we continue our recent survey of the earlier American composers with a visit with George Whitefield Chadwick. It’s a revisit, too; on four previous occasions—from last month’s show all the way back to our third program in 2002—Chadwick has been turning up on Discoveries broadcasts.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, April 2nd, 5 to 6 pm. After World War I, there was a trail of American composers to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. But in the years after the Civil War, early in American orchestral music, composers also went to Europe to study. Mostly, they went to Germany, and some of those, to Munich, at that time the second-greatest center of music in Europe, after Paris. After all, so many of the operas of the trend-setting Richard Wagner had premiered in this capital of Bavaria, and it was not all that far from Bayreuth, with its theater specially built for Wagner.

Discovering Beethoven?

Mar 2, 2016

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, March 5th, 5 to 6 pm... It's a composer we’ve barely touched on in Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, and with good reason. Beethoven isn’t a discovery to us (although, thankfully, people new to classical music discover him all the time).

March 5th is the anniversary of a remarkable day in music history. Sergei Prokofiev died, but almost unnoticed, because it was the same day that Josef Stalin, the tyrant who had caused so much pain in the composer’s life, also died. WRTI’s Kile Smith looks at this ironic coincidence.

It’s the 99th anniversary of an important first for the WRTI family. It happened in South Jersey, and the significance of it extends to this day.
 


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.

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