Kile Smith

Classical Host

Kile Smith hosts the contemporary American music program Now Is the Time on Sundays at 10 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, teaching music history at Cairn University, music notation at Temple University, or 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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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
11:00 am
Sat March 5, 2011

Composer and Pianist Ferruccio Busoni

Ferruccio Busoni. He was the first to perform all 18 Franz Liszt Preludes together, the first to play all 24 Chopin Preludes together, and, over four nights in Berlin, he soloed in 14 concertos with orchestra. Fourteen. They couldn't invent words big enough to describe this new star among pianists. Not only did they call him star, but also sun, giant, and king - tripping over themselves to find superlatives.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
3:28 pm
Sat February 12, 2011

Widor and Copland

Charles-Marie Widor circa 1900

Works for Organ and Orchestra by Charles-Marie Widor and Aaron Copland

The organ world in Paris - in January of 1870 - was buzzing when the top names in the business saw to it that a 25-year-old got the biggest job in the city. St. Sulpice Church was looking for someone to pilot its newly installed five-manual organ, the greatest and largest instrument by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, known as the greatest organ builder of the 19th century.

Camille Saint-Saens, Charles Gounod, and Cavaille-Coll himself all said that there was only one person for the job: Charles-Marie Widor. The church offered Widor the appointment on a temporary basis. He kept the job for 64 years.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
9:51 am
Sat January 8, 2011

Only in America!

Only in America...in the midst of WW II, Columbia Pictures was deciding who would compose the score to a film about an Allied battle in Norway. Two Russian-born composers were in the running. Igor Stravinsky, the most famous composer alive, had the inside track. Yet, the other composer got the job. Who did Stravinsky lose out to?

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:16 pm
Sat December 4, 2010

Paul Juon: The Russian Brahms

Paul Juon was born in Russia and died in Switzerland, but is a German composer. His music is influenced by Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Sibelius, so of course he was called "the Russian Brahms"! Well, Taneyev, Glazunov, and Medtner have all been called that, but it was a schoolmate, Sergei Rachmaninoff, who pinned the nickname on Paul Juon. So who is he?

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
10:46 am
Sat November 6, 2010

Works by Xaver Scharwenka

Xaver Scharwenka was a composer, educator, conductor, editor, impresario, and world-famous pianist born in Poland, who established his career in Germany, and founded a conservatory in New York City. Two quite different pieces, the formidable Fourth Piano Concerto and an utterly gorgeous Andante religioso for strings, organ, and harp, show the depth of his creativity.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:14 pm
Mon October 4, 2010

Works by Mieczysław Karłowic

Composer Mieczysław Karłowicz

Often overrun by foreign powers in its thousand-year history, Poland engenders pride in people of Polish descent around the world. October is Polish American Heritage Month, and we take a look at Mieczysław Karłowicz as a representative of the hope and turmoil in the history of this country.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
3:18 pm
Sat September 4, 2010

Influential Violinist Composer Henri Vieuxtemps and an Interview with Violinist Misha Keylin

Violinist Misha Keylin

The Belgian-born Henri Vieuxtemps stands in the center of that line of Classical and Romantic violinist composers. In fact, a chronological list of the forty most-prominent violinist composers, from the beginning (Arcangelo Corelli, b.1653) to well into the 20th century (Amadeo Roldan, b.1900) also places Vieuxtemps right in the middle, at number twenty.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:00 pm
Sat August 14, 2010

Composer Henry Cowell's Astounding Influence on Modern American Music

The name of Henry Cowell (1897-1965) may be unfamiliar to many classical music listeners, but Cowell is one of the biggest influences on modern American music, inspiring composers as disparate as John Cage, George Gershwin, Burt Bacharach, and generations down to this day. His own music isn't heard that often, but on this month's Discoveries we'll listen to three fascinating pieces out of his gargantuan and stylistically surprising catalog. We'll also talk to musicologist Gary Galvan, who will share some of the facets of Cowell's life and music that made him the important figure that he is.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
1:34 pm
Sat July 3, 2010

An American Ballet Score Lost and Found

American composer Ferde Grofe in 1937

Ferde Grofe's Cafe Society: Lost and Found

It's a work by one of the significant names in American music, yet it hasn't been heard for 70 years - until now. We know Ferde (Ferdie) Grofe (Grof-ay) as the composer of the well-known Grand Canyon Suite, and as the original orchestrator of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue for Paul Whiteman's band. But Cafe Society is a ballet from the height of his career that fell into oblivion.

Gary White, conductor of the Philadelphia Sinfonia - the youth orchestra that recently played Cafe Society at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center - will share with us the full story behind this fanciful evocation of Prohibition-era nightlife.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:50 pm
Sat June 5, 2010

The Astonishing Life and Music of Paul Kletzki

Composer and conductor Paul Kletzki

Paul Kletzki's life was filled with astonishing highs and lows, and was changed forever by events in Nazi Germany and the aftermath of the Holocaust.

This month we take a look at the music of Paul Kletzki. Not his conducting - for which he is known by cognoscenti the world over - but his composing.

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