Kile Smith

Classical Host

Kile Smith 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.

A Grand Celebration: The Philadelphia Orchestra Live with the Wanamaker Organ at Macy's Center City
The Historic Grand Court Concert
Peter Richard Conte, organist. Rossen Milanov, conductor

Kile Smith Recommends...

Apr 26, 2011

John Zorn: The Gift

Composers have always used elements of popular music to make high art. The suites of Bach and entire movements of Mahler would never have appeared without the seeds of middlebrow entertainment. John Zorn cultivates this field, and, for The Gift, keeps to a corner of it called "The Sixties."

Kile Smith Recommends...

Mar 30, 2011

Relache: Press Play
Music of Mark Hagerty, Guy Klucevsek, Cynthia Folio

Relache has been slipping the thin leading edge of new music into Philadelphia since 1979. They've done it with a jolly indifference to the clashing of styles or the rocking of boats. Even their name, which in French means "the show is closed," exhibits their iconoclasm and humor. Downtown, uptown, no town, doesn't matter: if it's new - brand new - Relache is all over it.

 

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.

Widor and Copland

Feb 12, 2011

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.

Only in America!

Jan 8, 2011

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?

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?

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.

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.

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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