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.

Ways to Connect

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.

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.

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.

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.

Works by Edward MacDowell, Curt Cacioppo, and Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate

One of the ways to understand a nation's music is to listen to the music of its indigenous peoples. On this Discoveries we'll hear music written by, and inspired by, Native Americans.

Works by Hugo Alfven

Composers write music about love all the time. Hugo Alfven - urbane, well-trained, and rising in all the right circles - began one such piece as a young man in his twenties. It so overwhelmed him, however, that 20 years later it had mutated into a craggy three-quarter-hour symphony of four movements played without break, a luxuriant, ardent, and stunning wordless tale of such power that some critics thought it too suggestive for public performance.

Works by Elinor Remick Warren

In this edition of Discoveries, we'll hear music by one of the leading American women composers of the mid-20th century. Elinor Remick Warren was also pianist to the stars, and the wife of a Hollywood producer. Solidly in the American Romantic tradition of Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber, there's also a streak of French impressionism shining through her music.

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