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.

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Now Is the Time
7:29 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Passover and Remembering

Passover passes and remembrance continues on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 11th at 9 pm. The composer and guitarist David Leisner tells the story, in Acrobats, of circus performers on a concentration camp-bound train who mistakenly end up at a circus. Life-and-death decisions are made in split seconds. Raphael Mostel was concerned with the Second World War destruction and eventual liberation of Rotterdam, but as he composed in September 2001, a plane headed to the World Trade Center flew over his building. Shofars and brass shudder in Night and Dawn.

John Morton recalls, by way of a modified music box, a Passover meal’s interlude in The Parting. Conductor Gerard Schwarz is also a composer, and wrote In Memoriam for the passing of a friend. It premiered at a Holocaust memorial concert, and featured as soloist Schwarz’s cellist son Julian. The Hebrew term for the Red Sea actually translates to “Sea of Reeds,” so that may be the body of water that the Israelites crossed in their Exodus from Egypt. From the Sea of Reeds CD by Gerald Cohen is a work for violin, clarinet, and piano, an extended blues called Variously Blue.

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Now Is the Time
10:56 am
Fri April 3, 2015

The Women at the Cross

Two Philadelphia composers explore sacred themes on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 4th at 9 pm. Holy the Firm is the song cycle by James Primosch on texts by Denise Levertov, Annie Dillard, Susan Stewart, and the 7th-century John Climacus, whose monastic treatise The Ladder of Divine Ascent takes its inspiration from the angels in Jacob's dream. From Primosch's Sacred Songs CD, this is magical and colorful writing for soprano and small orchestra.

Curt Cacioppo's Women at the Cross, from his recent CD Ritornello, is a suite for string quartet and piano focused on the week of the Passion of Christ. The movements are Maria gratia plena (Mary, full of grace), Procula, Veronica, Maddalena, La terza Maria, Salome, and Sons of Thunder; the finale refers to James and John, called "Boanerges" or "Sons of Thunder" by Jesus, and thought to be the sons of one of the women disciples, Salome.

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Arts Desk
3:02 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

An Interview With MAD MEN Composer David Carbonara

As the popular AMC series Mad Men begins its final season, listen back to a revealing and humorous interview with Mad Men Music Editor David Carbonara from March, 2012, as he shares the inside story on how he writes music for Mad Men, how creator Matthew Weiner chooses the '60s songs, and how it's all mixed together to make a hit TV series. And how did he get this gig, anyway?

David, a former trombonist, spices the show with jazz-tinged music that lends flavor as much as the crisp dialogue and mod decor.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
12:12 am
Wed April 1, 2015

The 150th Anniversary of Paul Dukas

Paul Dukas, age 30

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, April 4th, 5-6 pm... There’s one Paul Dukas work that overshadows everything else he wrote, and that’s a shame because there’s much more to him, the 150th anniversary of whose birth is in 2015, than that.

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Philadelphia Music Makers, March 29, 5 PM
1:28 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Composer Jennifer Higdon Tells Her Story: Part 2

Jennifer Higdon and her cat, Beau
Candace diCarlo

The door closed behind Jennifer Higdon. She was in the office of her college conducting professor, Robert Spano, seeking advice about what to do. She had just heard back from the Curtis Institute of Music - they had accepted her application for graduate studies, but so had other music schools. She needed guidance.  "I'm not letting you out of here," Spano said, until she agreed to accept the spot from Curtis.

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Philadelphia Music Makers, March 22 at 5 PM
10:37 am
Sun March 22, 2015

Composer Jennifer Higdon Tells Her Story: Part 1

Jennifer Higdon and her cat, Beau
Candace diCarlo

“Kind of incredible, isn’t it?” says Jennifer Higdon. She has won a Pulitzer and a Grammy, her orchestral work blue cathedral has been performed more than 500 times, she is professor of composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, and is one of the world’s most-performed living classical composers. But when she arrived at college, she hadn’t heard of Igor Stravinsky. “I knew nothing,” she said.

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WRTI Arts Desk
10:52 am
Mon March 16, 2015

The Story About Gustav Holst's 'The Planets'

One of the most loved and exciting works in the orchestral repertoire is The Planets by Gustav Holst. But, as WRTI’s Kile Smith reports, the way we hear it now is not the form in which audiences first heard it.

For such an immediately successful work, and for one that is central to the orchestral repertoire, The Planets by Gustav Holst took a long time to get off the ground.

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Philadelphia Music Makers, March 15 at 6 PM
4:46 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Jazz Vocalist Alita Moses: Singing the Standards to Montreux and Back

When Alita Moses stepped onto the stage for the finals of the 2014 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in Switzerland last July, she had come a long way from West Hartford, Connecticut, and a long way from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where she is a senior jazz vocal major.

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Now Is the Time
3:45 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

All Viola on Now Is the Time

duoJalal

The spotlight is on the alto of the string section on Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 7th at 9 pm. John Harbison's sumptuous Viola Concerto starts the program off, and then duoJalal percussionist Yousif Sheronick turns a Philip Glass solo viola work into a Duo for Solo Percussion and Viola, just as he would have when he played in the Philip Glass Ensemble.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
5:59 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Karl Goldmark Had Character Enough

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday March 1st, 2015, 5-6 pm... Continuing our survey of the year 1915, we find one of the few people of the time—composers, critics, or audience members—who liked both Brahms and Wagner, and that's Karl Goldmark. A Hungarian composer trying to make his way in Vienna, he took on other jobs in and related to music. One of those jobs was music criticism.

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