KileStandingShadow2009Hailed by critics, performers, and audiences, the music of Kile Smith is increasingly sought after because of its unique beauty, emotional power, direct appeal, and strong voice.

In January 2018 the Craig Hella Johnson and the Vocal Arts Ensemble bring Kile back to Cincinnati for performances and a CD recording of his concert-length Canticle.

He is composing a new chamber work for Relâche and a major concert-length work, The Arc in the Sky, on texts of Robert Lax, for Donald Nally and The Crossing. Choral Arts is performing newly transcribed sections, with Baroque orchestra, of Vespers in 2018. In the next two years Kile will be composing an opera for baritone and chorus on the Book of Job.

With multiple commissions from The Crossing, Kile has also been composer in residence for Lyric Fest, the Helena Symphony, and the Jupiter Symphony. Kile is composer in residence of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

Contact • kile at kilesmith dot com • Kile on Facebook • Bio →

Vespers with Khorikos and Piffaro

vespers19 Nov 2016. Vespers. Khorikos and Piffaro. St. Luke Church, 487 Hudson St. NYC, 7:00.

Choir of at least 16 singers, multiple soloists, Renaissance band. 66′. Much of this transcribed for keyboard.

From the reviews: “Seldom do I come across a piece with such profoundly direct emotional appeal. I’ll say it outright: this work is a masterpiece of the deepest kind… worldwide buzz… almost preternaturally beautiful… easily one of the best releases of the year of any type… it would be a crime to pass it up… one-of-a-kind work… astonishes the listener… a remarkable feat… miracle… hour-long tour de force… essential listening… the final movement (“Deo Gratias”) is almost giddy… brilliant new work… magnificent achievement… fresh, vibrant… the whole work bursts with the invention that characterizes the best music… a composer of stealthy excellence… ethereally beautiful… a singular voice… a major new work… a spectacular work… profoundly contemporary… ecstatically beautiful….” More…

Canticle at Chorus America


Craig Hella Johnson

Craig Hella Johnson’s Vocal Arts Ensemble commissioned this work, one of the largest, most compelling projects I’ve been involved with. SATB, 3 cellos, 1 percussionist playing vibraphone, bass drum, tambourine. 65′. June 15, 7 pm, Covenant-First Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati.

Canticle is a setting of the great mystical work of St. John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ, or as it’s often and simply known, the Spiritual Canticle. The 40-stanza poem is revered as one of the great religious and literary works of the 16th century. Following the tradition of the biblical Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), St. John personifies, with symbolic and beautiful imagery, the journey of the soul, through the travails of the world, to union with her bridegroom… More…

Grandmother’s GardenGrandmothersGarden

A setting of the children’s book by John Archambault. 2-part Children’s Choir, Piano, opt. C Instrument, 9′. Grandmother’s Garden was commissioned by Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Gleeksman-Kohn Children’s Choir, Rae Ann Anderson, director.

The magic of the book, I think, is in the realization and acceptance of two opposing thoughts, that we are all separate, and that we are all together. We are all different, and all the same. Each thought is made stronger by the acceptance of its opposite. At the same time, there is pride in our togetherness. All different, all the same, all in one garden…  More…

Agnus Dei

MendelssohnClubCommissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Paul Rardin, Artistic Director. Premiered 18 Oct 2015, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and the Symphony in C, conducted by Paul Rardin. For choir and orchestra; duration, 15 minutes.

For his first concert as the new artistic director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Paul Rardin asked me to compose an Agnus Dei. The Mozart Great Mass in C Minor would also be performed on this concert. My composition was to complement Mozart’s Mass, one of his last works and which he left unfinished without an Agnus Dei….  More…

The Heavens DeclareAivazovskyChaos1841

The Heavens Declare, for SATB, SAB solos, piano, and optional audience participation. Duration about 4-½ minutes. Commissioned by Lyric Fest, premiered by Lyric Fest and Singing City, Jeffrey Brillhart, director. The concert was inspired by James Weldon Johnson’s poem “The Creation.” Because it is a retelling of the Genesis account of creation, I suggested a setting of Psalm 19 for my piece.

This can be performed in concert or in church, with soloists or small sections answering the choir, and with audience (or congregation)…   More…