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The music of Kile Smith is acclaimed nationally and internationally for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.”

The Arc in the Sky with The Crossing received a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, and the Canticle / Alleluia CD by Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble helped win the 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh. A Birch in Winter, which includes Kile’s Where Flames a Word, won the 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year for Voces Musicales (now Voces Tallinn). Recent commissions include Conspirare (The Dawn’s Early Light, with the L.A. Guitar Quartet)Piffaro (Ave Maris Stella with Variant 6), iSing Girlchoir, a Chorus America–auctioned commission for the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati (Go Forth into the World in Peace). Kile continues work on libretto and music for his first opera, The Book of Job, premiering in multiple cities, 2021/22 season. The Arc in the Sky in Philadelphia, New York, London, Cincinnati, and Boston, The Consolation of Apollo in Washington DC, Portland, and New Zealand, Where Flames a Word in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Roanoke.

SEVEN NEW CDs • The Dawn’s Early Light released 2020 by Conspirare with the L.A. Guitar Quartet. The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati released Canticle and Alleluia and helped win the 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh. The Crossing and Donald Nally with The Arc in the Sky nominated for the 2020 Grammy Best Choral Performance, which they commissioned and premiered 2018. Three releases include Kile’s Where Flames a Word: Estonia’s Voces Musicales (2020 Estonian Recording of the Year), Chicago Chamber Choir’s Live Art 2017–2020, and New York City’s Khorikos. Lyric Fest releases an all–Kile Smith vocal CD, In This Blue Room, on Albany, including his 45-minute cycle of the same name for mezzo-soprano and baritone. CanticleThe Arc in the Sky, and Where Flames a Word are in constant rotation on Classical MPR’s Choral Stream.

PERFORMANCES • After The Crossing brought out the CD and brought down the house at the 2019 Chorus America national conference in Philadelphia, The Arc in the Sky moves to London with the Cantus Ensemble, New York with the Ghostlight Chorus, Cincinnati with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Northwestern University Chorale.

The Consolation of Apollo continues its run of multiple national and international performances, complete and excerpted, inspired by the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8. Portland State Chamber Choir takes it to the World Symposium on Choral Music in New Zealand. Choirs include two in England—The 24 and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain—the Auckland Youth Choir, and the University of Waterloo (Canada), along with Kansas City Chorale, Verdigris Ensemble (Dallas), Ars Nova Singers (Colorado), Red Shift (Baton Rouge), Charlotte (NC) Master Chorale, Choral Arts Society (Washington, DC), Huntsville Community Chorus (Alabama), Stare at the Sun (Chicago), and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 11 Choir. Where Flames a Word receives three performances in Estonia with Voces Musicales, three in Chicago (in May at Northwestern, twice in October by the Chicago Chamber Choir), three in Roanoke, and three by the Madison Choral Project.

The Arcadian Trio commissions and performs Spirituals for Piano Trio in multiple concerts throughout 2019 and 2020. Anna and Erik Meyer perform their flute and organ commission A Child’s Afternoon multiple times in 2019/20. In May 2020, the Temple Music Prep String Orchestra premieres Jubilate Deo.

The L.A. Choral Lab gives multiple performances of Kile’s Shakespeare setting And Good in Every Thing. The New York choral group Khorikos premiered Kile’s setting of the Robert Lax poem my son my son and took it on tour in Serbia and Montenegro in 2019. Red Shift commissioned and premiered in Baton Rouge his setting of the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (to be published by Hal Leonard), and Seattle’s Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble gave the West Coast premiere of O Rex Gentium. Ursinus College commissioned a Jubilate Deo and the First Presbyterian Church of Barrington (IL) commissioned a new Easter anthem, Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem.

PUBLICATIONS • Kile’s new arrangement for choir, organ, and brass, Of the Father’s Love Begotten, premiered at Westminster Choir College, and is published by GIA in its Westminster Choral Series. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and Alleluia are published by Hal Leonard under the Craig Hella Johnson Series. Kile continues to add to his catalog of works distributed by MusicSpoke. (Photo credit: Sam Brewer)

Biography

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Kile Smith’s The Arc in the Sky with The Crossing received a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, and his Canticle with Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble helped win the 2020 Best Classical Producer Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh. 

Kile has gained national and international acclaim with commissions from The Crossing, Conspirare, Piffaro, Helena Symphony, Lyric Fest, Westminster Choir College, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, the Pennsylvania and iSing Girlchoirs, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Gaudete Brass, Red Shift, and Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, with major choral works heard in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Canada, England, and New Zealand. Gramophone called Vespers “spectacular” and the American Record Guide, “a major new work.” Eight CDs with his music have been released since 2018.

He has also been performed by Seraphic Fire, The 24, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, Orchestra 2001, and Network for New Music. His first opera, The Book of Job, will premiere in multiple cities in the 2021/22 season. Kile continues to write chamber and orchestral works, anthems and other service music. He is published by Hal Leonard and GIA, and many of his works are distributed by MusicSpoke.

310 words:
The music of Kile Smith (b. 1956) is hailed nationally and internationally by critics, performers, and audiences for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” 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.”

Other commissions include The Arc in the SkyThe Consolation of ApolloThe Waking SunWhere Flames a Word, and others for The Crossing and Donald Nally, who have commissioned Kile more than any other composer, the concert-length Canticle for Craig Hella Johnson’s Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati, Agnus Dei for the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the song cycles In This Blue Room for Lyric Fest and Plain Truths for the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, Adieu, Adieu for Relâche, Red-tail and Hummingbird for Orchestra 2001 and Piffaro, the cello concerto And Seeing the Multitudes for Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, The Red Book of Montserrat for the Philadelphia Sinfonia, and The Nobility of Women for Mélomanie. He’s also completed commissions for organist Alan Morrison, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the Gaudete Brass, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Episcopal Cathedral of Boston, Choral Arts Philadelphia, and many others. He’s composed for concertmaster David Kim and principal horn Jennifer Montone of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His music has been performed throughout the U.S., in Europe, and by The 24 and others in the U.K. The Independence Foundation awarded Kile a 2018 Fellowship for his first opera, The Book of Job. Five CDs of Kile’s music were released in 2018/19. Kile has hosted Fleisher Discoveries on radio and podcast since 2002, and is a contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review.

599 words:
The music of Kile Smith (b. 1956) is hailed nationally and internationally by critics, performers, and audiences for its emotional power, direct appeal, strong voice, and sheer beauty. 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.” Conductor Craig Hella Johnson said, “his voice is unlike any other.”

Other commissions include The Arc in the SkyThe Consolation of ApolloThe Waking SunWhere Flames a Word, and others for The Crossing and Donald Nally, who have commissioned Kile more than any other composer, the concert-length Canticle for Craig Hella Johnson’s Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati, Agnus Dei for the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, 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 cello concerto And Seeing the Multitudes for Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, The Red Book of Montserrat for the Philadelphia Sinfonia, and The Nobility of Women for Mélomanie. He’s also completed commissions for organist Alan Morrison, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the Gaudete Brass, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Episcopal Cathedral of Boston, Choral Arts Philadelphia, and many others. He’s composed for Concertmaster David Kim and Principal Horn Jennifer Montone of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Independence Foundation awarded Kile a 2018 Fellowship for his first opera, The Book of Job. Five CDs of Kile’s music were released in 2018/19.

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 premieres include Two Laudate Psalms for Lyric Fest and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and Now Ys the Tyme of Crystymas by the Virginia Chorale. Ensemble Epomeo has commissioned chamber works and performed 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.

Orchestras performing Kile’s music include the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Delaware, Grand Rapids, and Jackson (Tenn.) symphonies, 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.

Other awards include 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) have honored Kile as Alumnus of the Year.

Kile has hosted Fleisher Discoveries on radio and podcast since 2002, and is a contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review.

Kile has been composer in residence for Lyric Fest, the Helena Symphony, and the Jupiter Symphony, and is composer in residence for the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. 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. He and his wife, soprano, organist, and conductor Jacqueline Smith, live outside Philadelphia. Their three daughters Priscilla, Elena, and Martina are all performing musicians. (Photo credits: A.J. Waltz)

Selected Commissions

At the dress rehearsal of Canticle with Boston Cecilia; conductor George Case looks on. Photo credit: Sam Brewer

Abington Presbyterian Church, Abington, Pa.
American Guild of Organists, Philadelphia Chapter
Arcadian Trio
Association of Anglican Musicians
Auricolae
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
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
Gaudete Brass
Gerard Manley Hopkins Centenary Conference
Greenville University
William Ghezzi, guitar
Helena Symphony
Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Abington, Pa.
John Ilika, trombone
The Jupiter Symphony
Khorikos
Latin Fiesta
Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra
Lower Merion Baptist Church
Lyric Fest
Mélomanie
Anna and Erik Meyers, flute and organ duo
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
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
Relâche
Singing City
St. Eleanor Church, Collegeville, Pa.
St. Joseph’s University
Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra
Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
Ursinus College
Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati
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.
E. C. Schirmer
Edwin F. Kalmus & Co., Inc.

MusicSpoke
Paul Jones Music
Tau Imprints
Theodore Presser Company
Westminster Brass Publications

Associations

American Composers Forum
ASCAP
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia

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