Now is the Time

Saturday, 9 to 10 pm on HD-2 and the Classical Stream

Contemporary American music is being recorded all the time, and Now is the Time to take a listen and explore the music of American composers today. All types...all styles...listen to contemporary American music every Saturday night with host and composer Kile Smith.

The spirit of Copland looks over Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 14th at 9 pm. It would be the 115th birthday of the son of Lithuanian immigrants, the son of Brooklyn, who, more than any other composer, defined what is “American” in American music. We think that there is at the very least a little of his spirit in the works on today’s show. 

There are very few tuba concertos in the classical repertoire - Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1954 work is among a handful. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new addition explores the largely untapped lyricism of the instrument.   

It’s two pianos, four hands, and more on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 7th at 9 pm. Lowell Liebermann has two works on the program, starting off with two pianos and eight hands (two belonging to himself), on Daydream and Nightmare. Later we’ll hear his Sonata for Two Pianos.

Outer space is silent, and that may be one reason why a lot of movies about space have iconic scores — in addition to helping advance the the plot, the music in films like Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey must fill a literal void.

The spirit of Halloween hovers over Now Is the Time, Saturday, October 31 at 9 pm. Strings, bells, melodicas softly accompany waning desert sunlight: such is Drift of Rainbows by Dan Visconti. William Moylan's setting of the Yeats poem The Stolen Child tells an Erlkönig-like story: "Come away, O human child! / To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand, / For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

This week’s blood-red super-moon eclipse informs Now Is the Time, Saturday, October 3rd at 9 pm. Blake Wilkins’s Compendium, from the University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble’s CD Twilight Offering Music, is a moodily colorful start to the program. An eerie string quartet is The Gloaming by Michael Whalen, from his CD The Shadows of October.

We look up and out on Now Is the Time, Saturday, September 26th at 9 pm. In Philadelphia there’s no escaping the influence of the pope’s visit this weekend, so there’s a sacred tinge to this Saturday’s program. Curt Cacioppo gives the solo piano a workout, negotiating the potential of a rock-ribbed hymn in his Ostinato-Fantasia on "All Creatures of Our God and King."

This Sunday, September 27 from 4 to 6 pm, join us for the third and final concert in The Crossing chamber choir's Seventh Annual Month of Moderns (MoM) Festival, recorded live on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
. Listen at WRTI 90.1 FM or one of our other frequencies in PA, NJ, and DE, or online at

British composer Max Richter spent about two years writing and recording a piece of music which, if it's successful, few people will hear in full. It's a composition called Sleep and it runs eight hours long — the perfect length for a good night's rest. The full version of the piece will be released as a digital album Friday.