About

Short biography

KileWRTIHeadShot500The music of Kile Smith is praised by critics and audiences for its emotional power, direct appeal, and strong voice. Gramophone hailed the “sparkling beauty” of his music, calling Vespers “spectacular.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “ecstatically beautiful,” American Record Guide, “a major new work,” Audiophile Audition, “easily one of the best releases of the year of any type… a crime to pass up,” and Fanfare, “a magnificent achievement.”

Recent commissions include Agnus Dei for the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, The Consolation of ApolloThe Waking SunWhere Flames a Word, and May Day for The Crossing, the cello concerto And Seeing the Multitudes for Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, the song cycles In This Blue Room for Lyric Fest and Plain Truths for the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, Red-tail and Hummingbird for Orchestra 2001 and Piffaro, The Red Book of Montserrat for the Philadelphia Sinfonia, and The Nobility of Women for Mélomanie. He’s also recently completed commissions for organist Alan Morrison, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the Association of Anglican Musicians, Cairn University, the Episcopal Cathedral of Boston, and others. He’s composed for Concertmaster David Kim and Principal Horn Jennifer Montone of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Kile is the afternoon classical host at WRTI-FM, and also hosts Now Is the Time and co-hosts Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection. He writes for the Broad Street Review and WRTI, and teaches. Kile was curator of the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music, the world’s largest lending library of orchestral performance materials, at the Free Library of Philadelphia. He is composer in residence for the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

Biography

kilesitting20092.jpg

The music of Kile Smith is praised by critics and audiences for its emotional power, direct appeal, and strong voice. Gramophone hailed the “sparkling beauty” of his music, calling Vespers “spectacular.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “ecstatically beautiful,” American Record Guide, “a major new work,” Audiophile Audition, “easily one of the best releases of the year of any type… a crime to pass up,” and Fanfare, “a magnificent achievement.”

Recent commissions include Agnus Dei for the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, The Consolation of ApolloThe Waking SunWhere Flames a Word, and May Day for The Crossing, the cello concerto And Seeing the Multitudes for Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, the song cycles In This Blue Room for Lyric Fest and Plain Truths for the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, Red-tail and Hummingbird for Orchestra 2001 and Piffaro, The Red Book of Montserrat for the Philadelphia Sinfonia, and The Nobility of Women for Mélomanie. He’s also recently completed commissions for organist Alan Morrison, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the Association of Anglican Musicians, Cairn University, the Episcopal Cathedral of Boston, and others. He’s composed for Concertmaster David Kim and Principal Horn Jennifer Montone of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Inquirer called the “immediately identifiable personality” of his music “breathtaking,” listing the premiere of Vespers as one of the “Top Ten” concerts of the year. The Buffalo News called it “altogether gorgeous and haunting,” and the Philadelphia City Paper raved that it is “almost preternaturally beautiful.” Audiophile Audition pronounced it “a masterpiece of the deepest kind… Seldom do I come across a piece with such profoundly direct emotional appeal.”

Other recent premieres are Two Laudate Psalms for Lyric Fest and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and Now ys the tyme of Crystymas by the Virginia Chorale. Ensemble Epomeo has performed his string quartet The Best of All Possible Worlds, string trios Thrice Blest and No, Not One, and the children’s piece The Bremen Town Musicians. The Gaines/French Duo (soprano saxophone, piano) commissioned This Broad Land and The Better Angels of Our Nature. Vespers and Where Flames a Word are available on the Navona label.

Many orchestras have performed Kile’s music, including the Delaware, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia Classical, and Jackson (Tenn.) symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, and the Sofia, Sofia Youth, and Shumen State Philharmonics of Bulgaria. His works have been played by Network for New Music, Latin Fiesta, and the Ocean City Pops.

Among his awards are a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Composer Fellowship, and grants from Meet The Composer and the Argosy Foundation. Temple University (2011) and Cairn University (2012) honored him as “Alumnus of the Year.”

Kile composes full-time, when he isn’t hosting the contemporary American music program Now Is the Time, co-hosting Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, and classical hosting on-air at Philadelphia’s WRTI-FM. He is a Contributing Editor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review, and writes and reviews for WRTI. For 18 years Kile was Curator of the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music, the world’s largest lending library of orchestral performance materials, at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Kile was Composer in Residence for Lyric Fest, the Helena Symphony, and the Jupiter Symphony, and is now Composer in Residence for the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. He teaches composition privately and at Cairn University. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, soprano Jacqueline Smith, and their daughters.

Selected Commissions

kilestandingshadow20093.jpgAbington Presbyterian Church, Abington, Pa.
Association of Anglican Musicians
Auricolae
Cairn University
The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
The Crossing
Thomas Elliott, trombone
Emilie United Methodist Church, Levittown, Pa.
Ensemble Epomeo
First Presbyterian Church, Phoenixville, Pa.
Gaines/French Duo
Gerard Manley Hopkins Centenary Conference
William Ghezzi, guitar
Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Abington, Pa.
John Ilika, trombone
The Jupiter Symphony
Latin Fiesta
Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra
Lyric Fest
Mélomanie
Musicopia
Network for New Music
Newburyport Chamber Music Festival
Orchestra 2001
Pennsylvania Girlchoir
Philadelphia Classical Symphony
Philadelphia Guitar Ensemble
Piffaro, The Renaissance Band
Pottstown Symphony Orchestra
St. Eleanor Church, Collegeville, Pa.
St. Joseph’s University
Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra
Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
Ursinus College
The Westminster Brass

Recordings

American Spirituals, Book One, David Kim, The Lord Is My Shepherd, Paul Jones  Music
American Spirituals, Book Two, Anne Martindale Williams, Sacred Music for Cello, Paul Jones Music
Four French Carols, The Westminster Brass, Christmas Celebration
Great is Thy Faithfulness, The Westminster Brass, Great Hymns of the Faith, Vol. 2
Penmaen Pool, Nancy Ellen Ogle, An Evening with Gerard Manley Hopkins, Capstone
A Song of Sonia Sanchez, Latin Fiesta, Amor a la Vida
“Veni Sancte Spiritus” from Vespers, Fine Music, Vol. 1, Navona
Vespers, Piffaro, The Crossing, Donald Nally, Navona
Where Flames a Word, The Crossing, It is Time, Navona

Publishers

Hildegard Publishing Company, Inc.
Edwin F. Kalmus & Co., Inc.
Paul Jones Music
Prairie Dawg Press
Tau Imprints
Theodore Presser Company
Westminster Brass Publications

Associations

American Composers Forum
ASCAP
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, Board

Photos by Abu Tilghman

12 thoughts on “About

    1. Kile Smith Post author

      Thanks, Robert, but the entire quote offers me perspective. In my chariot, my assistant keeps whispering in my ear: “almost.” Veni, vidi…!,
      Kile

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  2. Byron Marshall

    Are you the author of the notes on the 2000 naxos “American Classics” recording of the Santa Claus Symphony and other works by William Henry Fry?

    If so, do you have an email address where I could communicate with you further?

    Thanks,

    Byron Marshall
    Byron@mcritters.com

    Reply
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  6. Alan

    Hello Kile
    Back in Ocotober , I guess it was, you played “Hary Janos” by Koday. You will note that the spelling is correct. I wondered how to spell the title and the composer’s name correctly. Well, when I heard you play it the next time, I went and looked it up on Google and YouTube, with my phonetic spelling. Wouldn’t you know, it came back corrected, and I was able to see how that difficult title and name are spelled.
    Alan

    Reply
    1. Kile Smith Post author

      Thanks, Alan, it could’ve been me! Delightful piece, and I try to get all my pronunciations right, or at least in the ballpark. Best,
      Kile

  7. Phil Korb

    Kile: I hereby double down on my recent fan’s note. I wrote you about your Copland post to praise your writing, along with my vote for Charles Ives as best American composer. But I just listened to your Vespers album with Piffaro. It is sublime. I am delighted to be able to praise you enthusiastically as a composer. You don’t just talk the talk; you walk the walk. Powerful and lovely choral writing, which works perfectly with the Piffaro sonority. I am kicking myself for having missed the performance (and Joan Kimball is a long time friend; my wife and I sometimes put up Piffaro’s out of town guest performers). When it is performed again I will pay more attention to your schedule.
    Phil

    Reply
    1. Kile Smith Post author

      Phil, your note is so generous, and so kind, I hardly know what to say except Thank You. We’re having another performance of Vespers in NYC late in 2016, with Piffaro and Khorikos, so maybe that’d be in the cards to see! Very excited about that. I hope we can meet and chat sometime. Best wishes for a happy new year,
      Kile

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