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

The weeds in his ever-widening gardens hint that he needs to get outside more.


Now is the Time
10:12 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Incredible Purple on Now is the Time

from Joshua Stamper: Incredible Purple

We’re in the blue to purple section of the color wheel on Now is the Time, Sunday, February 24th at 10 pm. The blues are brought to us by Frank Ticheli’s wind orchestra, John King’s string quartet for Ethel, and Libby Larsen’s flute and guitar homage to Dizzy Gillespie and Ray Charles.

A Christopher Campbell interval spans wavelengths so that we may meet Efraín Amaya’s Venezuelan-spiced flute concerto. Joshua Stamper’s Incredible Purple sings the boundary between blues and something ineffable. Well, there’s a trombone.

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Now is the Time
11:48 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Episodes for Cello on Now is the Time

from Allen Shawn: Episodes for Cello and Piano

The cello sings on Now is the Time, Sunday, February 17th at 10 pm. The seven-movement Sonata No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello of Michael Hersch is a journey of lament, passion, and poignancy. There is darkness and depth in all of Hersch's music, but it is always leavened with an inescapable, sincere lyricism. This is thoroughly involving.  

Allen Shawn has written operas on librettos by his brother, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, music for the film My Dinner with Andre, and lots of piano and chamber music. He calls his own music eclectic, and there's always a wry element just around the corner. But don't allow that to cause you to miss his crafting of satisfying, skillful works, including these six Episodes for Cello and Piano.

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CD Selections
4:51 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

Kile Smith Recommends: David Bennett Thomas, Paths

Review including examples from David Bennett Thomas, Paths.

Listeners look for categories, but artists freely create, and David Bennett Thomas is, first of all, an artist. Neo-this, post-that, or fusion-with-something-else may be of interest to others, but the artist is interested only in creating.

David Bennett Thomas works in jazz and classical music, but he doesn’t put one foot in one and one in the other. He’s a professional, so he commits to either, depending on his purpose. He’s an artist, so he’s true, regardless of what he’s composing. He laughs and loves life, so his music is filled with humor and, perhaps what is most revolutionary in our earnest age, happiness.

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Now is the Time
8:35 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

A Valentine on Now is the Time

from Stacy Garrop: Tango Gardél

It's as if we were all sent Valentines on Now is the Time, Sunday, February 10th at 10 pm. We're proud of all the music by women composers our show has aired since we began in 2008, but this program we've set aside for them and to some pieces that could be Valentines. Maybe.

It's not that we take anything for granted, as Annie Gosfield reminds us in Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds Back. Linda Robbins Coleman's piano rag is a Valentine to a dear member of the family, her beloved cat. The Syncopated Lady may be Carol Barnett or her pianist, Tomoko Deguchi. Valentine's Day is filled with flowers and poetry; Jasmine Flower is from Victoria Bond's CD Peculiar Plants, and Jennifer Higdon wrote String Poetic for the outstanding violinist Jennifer Koh.

Warming up the day is Anne LeBaron on harp, augmented, with Heat Wave 1, and Nicola Melville plays the searing Tango Gardél of Stacy Garrop.

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Now is the Time
11:31 am
Sat February 2, 2013

The Cresset Stone on Now is the Time

from Hilary Tann: The Cresset Stone

The violin takes on many guises on Now is the Time, Sunday, February 3rd at 10 pm. A “Fantasy for Violin” is what Michael Horvit calls his Daughters of Jerusalem. A concerto in all but name, it’s a passionate circling of texts from the Song of Solomon. She searches for her lover; she pleads; she despairs; she looks her friends in the eyes and asks them, What would you do?

Henri Lazarof’s Violin Concerto No. 3 is every bit a concerto, dramatic and expressionistic, and enjoys a powerful reading from violinist Christiane Edinger.

Welsh-born Hilary Tann has lived and taught in the U.S. for many years. The Cresset Stone takes its name from the hollowed-out rock holding oil for light in earlier times; such a stone in a cathedral inspired Tann’s work for solo violin, and includes a Gregorian Kyrie.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
11:29 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Percy Grainger: Beyond Country Gardens

Percy Grainger, 1913

If you know Percy Grainger at all, you know Country Gardens, that simple frolic every beginning pianist, every wind band, every school orchestra has assayed at one time or another. Percy Grainger knew that you would know that, and that’s why Percy Grainger grew to detest Country Gardens.

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Now is the Time
11:17 pm
Sat January 26, 2013

Two Quartets on Now is the Time

from Robert Maggio: Two Quartets

It's two different kinds of quartets, both inspired by great, but different, works of art, on Now is the Time, Sunday, January 27th at 10 pm. Michael Ellison heard the Borromeo String Quartet perform Beethoven's late quartet, the Opus 131, and the experience prompted a desire to write for Borromeo; to write a work with the greatness of Beethoven's in his mind. Ten years later he did just that, and his String Quartet #2, for Borromeo, is the result.

The movements in Robert Maggio's Two Quartets are 1. Desire, Movement and 2. Love, Stillness. He calls for an unusual quartet of two flutes and two cellos, which can produce a ravishing and mesmerizing sound. The title? Maggio was reading T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets at the time. The mystic, meditative parallel is apt.

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Now is the Time
10:59 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Traveling Music on Now is the Time

from Ken Benshoof: Traveling Music

It’s the voice of the people on Now is the Time, Sunday, January 20th at 10 pm. Populism reigned in the very first commission from the Kronos Quartet, way back in 1973: Traveling Music of Ken Benshoof. Similar influences echo in the recent Close Tolerances of Christopher Braddock, written for the new music / Baroque ensemble Mélomanie, from their new Florescence CD.

We can’t think of the meeting of classical and popular in American music without soon encountering William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs, and here we listen to live performances of the first two volumes, with the composer accompanying his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.

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Now is the Time
6:13 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Coyoteway on Now is the Time

from David Maslanka: Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble

We embrace ceremonies of healing on Now is the Time, Sunday, January 13th at 10 pmCoyoteway is from a cycle of string quartets Curt Cacioppo has written on the Navajo creation story. Wreathed in smoke, and amid singing and dancing, the person seeks forgiveness through apology for past wrongs, and is healed.

David Maslanka composed Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble as a tribute to a friend, flutist Christine Nield Capote, who was also a colleague to the soloist in this work, trombonist Tim Conner, and the conductor Gary Green. Its three movements are Requiem; Beloved; Be Content, Be Calm.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
10:40 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Impressions of Charles Tomlinson Griffes on Discoveries

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Jan. 12th at 5 pm... Impressionism is an imprecise, even controversial term, the first “impressionist” Debussy having none of it. Each of its elements—open form, reliance on tone color over melody, unpredictable harmonies with modal scales—is challengeable, and Debussy’s music is awash with counter-examples. But everyone agrees that impressionism, whatever it is, exists, and that it is French.

Which is why it is such a surprise that one of the leading impressionist composers lived and died in upstate New York and studied in, of all places, Germany.

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