Select Page

Kile Smith

Composer

“His voice is unlike any other”—Craig Hella Johnson, Conspirare

“sublimely … ecstatically beautiful”—David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

“our jaws just dropped”

Joan Kimball, Co-Artistic Director, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band

The Arc in the Sky: “maybe his best piece yet”

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

The Arc in the Sky: “a masterpiece of emotional expressivity and spiritual revelation”

Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local

The Arc in the Sky: “shimmering music that never quite goes where you think it will”

Jennifer Hambrick, WOSU Public Media

The Arc in the Sky: “a great explosion of energy ... rich and expansive ... real zest in both music and performance”

John Quinn, MusicWeb International

“he knows how to generate an emotional life out of a few tiny notes—and that’s the only thing that matters”

Donald Nally, conductor

“Smith’s vocal writing is eerily beautiful”

Boston Classical Review

“Kile Smith is reshaping the choral repertoire”

Cincinnati Movers & Makers

“at the top of his craft ... advancing the choral art form”

George Case, conductor

“sublimely beautiful”

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

Canticle: “achingly beautiful”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Canticle: “The writing for voices is exquisite ... contemplative, playful, devotional, exuberant, and sensual.”

Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound

Vespers: “like no other music”

Miami Herald

Vespers: “a major new work”

American Record Guide

Vespers: “almost preternaturally beautiful”

Philadelphia City Paper

Vespers: “one of the finest concerts I’ve heard in at least the last decade”

Chestnut Hill Local

Vespers: “spectacular”

Gramophone

Vespers: “ecstatically beautiful ... a sanctuary ... the Magnificat contains a minor miracle”

Philadelphia Inquirer

Vespers: “altogether gorgeous and haunting”

Buffalo News

Vespers: “a magnificent achievement ... fresh, vibrant ... bursts with the invention that characterizes the best music”

Fanfare

Vespers: “a crime to pass up ... easily one of the best releases of the year of any type ... profoundly direct emotional appeal”

Audiophile Audition

Vespers: “worldwide buzz ... exceptionally beautiful ... sneaks up on you, like a velvety cocktail, and then you are hooked”

Philadelphia City Paper Top Ten Classical

Deo Gratias: “almost giddy ... richly gratifying ... recalls Hugo Distler, but with a lighter heart and a natural exuberance”

Choral Journal

The Consolation of Apollo: “Top Ten… a highlight of the year”

TheaterJones, Dallas

The Consolation of Apollo: “will inspire your singers and audience to new heights”

David Montoya, California Choral Directors Association

“The piece I personally found most compelling was Kile Smith’s ‘Yes, it’s beautiful’ from The Consolation of Apollo ... stunning”

South Carolina Music Guide

Reflection, for organ: “Six minutes of pure musical bliss that brought tears to this reviewer’s eyes”

The Diapason

Alleluia: “going to be a staple of the choral repertoire”

Craig Hella Johnson, conductor

A Child’s Afternoon: “spontaneous sounds of delight from the audience ... every time. We are lucky to have this piece.”

Anna Meyer, flutist

A Child’s Afternoon: “a slow burn ... the same delighted reaction ... every time I perform this piece. The anticipation ... is palpable”

Anna Meyer, flutist

American Spirituals: “among the very best examples of that type of composition that I’ve ever heard, bar none”

John McLaughlin Williams, conductor, violinist

Where Flames a Word: “an important world premiere … feels completely right in spellbinding ways I never imagined”

Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Waking Sun is a hit”

Philadelphia Inquirer

“immediate appeal due to his melodic gift ... not forced or artificial”

Fanfare

Fanfare on Ein feste Burg: “Smith’s bristling variations ... exploded into life”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Red-tail and Hummingbird: “excellent … distant kinship to Monteverdi’s Orfeo overture … more rapid and dense”

Philadelphia Inquirer

A Song of Sonia Sanchez: “the most dramatic piece of the evening … a deafening performance, physically and emotionally”

Temple University News

A Song of Sonia Sanchez: “one of the most powerful pieces of the evening”

Latinoamérica, Philadelphia

Two Laudate Psalms: “natural, un-ostentatious simplicity ... near-invisible touches ... The God-is-in-the-details adage holds true”

Philadelphia Inquirer

News

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. The Dawn’s Early Light, Ave Maris Stella, The Book of JobThe Arc in the Sky, Where Flames a Word, The Consolation of Apollo, Vespers, Conspirare, the L.A. Guitar Quartet, Piffaro, Variant 6, iSing Girlchoir, Choral Arts Society of Washington … more here…

NINE NEW CDs The Dawn’s Early Light to release 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. Where Flames a Word, In This Blue Room, Canticle, The Arc in the Skymore here…

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 moved 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, Where Flames a Word, Spirituals for Piano TrioAnd Good in Every Thing, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Daymore here…

PUBLICATIONSOf the Father’s Love Begotten for choir, organ, and brass premiered at Westminster Choir College and is published by GIA. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and Alleluia published by Hal Leonard. MusicSpoke … more here… (Photo credit: A. J. Waltz)

Performances, events

2 Jan. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. Louis Gesensway, Four Squares of Philadelphia

6 Jan. Alleluia published by Hal Leonard in the Craig Hella Johnson Choral Series

12 Jan. The Arc in the Sky. Vocal Arts Ensemble Cincinnati, Craig Hella Johnson

17 Jan. American Spirituals, Book Two. WRTI broadcast, Kevin Gordon, 4:15

19 Jan. A Child’s Afternoon. Anna Meyer, fl, Erik Meyer, org, St. Paul’s Lutheran, Glenside, PA, 3:00

26 Jan. 2020 GRAMMY Classical Producer of the Year, Blanton Alspaugh, Canticle, Vocal Arts Ensemble, Craig Hella Johnson

26 Jan. 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year, A Birch in Winter CD with Where Flames a Word, Voces Tallinn, David Puderbaugh

1 Feb. Interview on Brad Lacey’s The Great Message, WPHT 1210 AM Philadelphia, 5 AM

3 Feb. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. William Grant Still, Darker America, Danzas de Panama

23 Feb. A Child’s Afternoon. Anna Meyer, flute, Erik Meyer, organ, Deerfield Presbyterian, Deerfield, NJ, 4:00

3 Mar 2020. In This Blue Room. Lauren McAllister, mezzo, Ben Flanders, baritone. Cincinnati

2 Mar. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. Priscilla Alden Beach and Molly Kien

16 Mar. “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” from Vespers. “Listen Adventurously,” Alan Muirhead, WORT-FM, Madison, WI

17 Mar. The Arc in the Sky, excerpts, KHNS-FM Alaska

2 Apr. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. Stravinsky Faces a Pandemic

4 Apr. “She Sees She Dresses Her Subjects” and “Reading Others” from In This Blue Room. Molly Biddle, mezzo-soprano. Haverford College, 7:00. COVID-19 canceled

13 Apr. Completed Everyone Sang, for SATB (virtual choir)

25 Apr 2020. The Consolation of Apollo. Westminster Williamson Voices, James Jordan. Cathedral Basilica, Philadelphia. COVID-19 canceled

1 May. Where Flames a Word on CD released by Chicago Chamber Choir, Christopher Windle, Live Art 2017–2020

2 May. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. Victor Herbert Honoring Harrell, Daniels, Grolnic

8 May. Everyone Sang. Online premiere, Louisiana State University Chorale and Tiger Glee Club, Trey Davis, director

9 May. Jubilate Deo, for string orchestra. Temple University Prep Annual Concert. COVID-19 canceled

15–17 May. Ave Maris Stella. Piffaro, Variant 6. COVID-19 postponed to Fall 2021

24 May. The Consolation of Apollo. Portland State Chamber Choir, Ethan Sperry. COVID-19 canceled

2 Jun. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. Jeremy Gill, Before the Wresting Tides

6 Jun. Concert of all-Smith works, Riga Project Chorus, Chris Walsh Sinka, Daugavpils, Latvia. COVID-19 canceled

7 Jun. Concert of all-Smith works, Riga Project Chorus, Chris Walsh Sinka, Riga, Latvia. COVID-19 canceled

12 Jun. The Arc in the Sky. et al., Kevin Neel, Boston. COVID-19 canceled

14 Jun. And Good in Every Thing. Alium Spiritum, virtual concerts 3 and 8pm Eastern

14 Jun. The Arc in the Sky. et al., Kevin Neel, Boston. COVID-19 canceled

15 Jun. Completed Ave Maris Stella, for Piffaro the Renaissance Band and Variant 6

28 Jun. The Arc in the Sky. Vocal Arts Ensemble Cincinnati, Craig Hella Johnson, broadcast on WGUC Cincinnati, 8pm

3 Jul. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. John Sebastian, the Harmonica Champion of Philadelphia, and His Russian Concerto

5 Jul. Completed Go Forth into the World in Peace, SATB and piano, for Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati

10 Jul. Completed The Star-Spangled Banner, arr. from The Dawn’s Early Light, SATB, piano, cello, for Hal Leonard

11–18 Jul. The Consolation of Apollo. Portland State Chamber Choir, Ethan Sperry. 12th World Symposium on Choral Music, Auckland, New Zealand. COVID-19 canceled

28 Jul. Completed There’s a Land Beyond the River, for voice and piano

1 Aug. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. The Vaughan Williams “Pastoral” Is Not What You Think

17 Aug. Completed Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow, SATB, piano, for The Choral Arts Society of Washington

1 Sep. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. The Uncertainty and Hope of Ernest Bloch

18 Sep. The Singing Guitar release, with The Dawn’s Early Light. Craig Hella Johnson conducts Conspirare, L.A. Guitar Quartet, cellist Douglas Harvey

21 Sep. Online meeting with Loyola University Chicago Choir, Kirsten Hedegaard, preparing Everyone Sang

23 Sep. The Dawn’s Early Light. Classical Discoveries broadcast, WPRB Princeton, Marvin Rosen

Oct. WFMT Chicago Fall Fund Drive pledge gift Live Art CD incl. Where Flames a Word. Chicago Chamber Choir, Christopher Windle

2 Oct. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. The Un-Classical Janáček Sinfonietta

3 Oct. The Dawn’s Early Light. Classical New Releases, WRTI Philadelphia, Mark Pinto

4 Oct. The Heavens Declare. St. Mary’s Episcopal, Richmond, Ryan Tibbetts

10 Oct. Host, interviewer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra livestream

11 Oct. The Dawn’s Early Light. Going Beyond Words, KVNO Omaha, Stanley Schmidt

18 Oct. Go Forth into the World in Peace. Premiere, Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Earl Rivers

24 Oct. Everyone Sang, Chicago Chamber Choir virtual concert, Christopher Windle

25 Oct. Completed Blue Lobster, baritone, piano, commissioned by Benjamin Flanders

26 Oct, week of. The Singing Guitar Classical Album of the Week, including The Dawn’s Early Light. WRTI-FM Philadelphia

29 Oct. The Dawn’s Early Light. WRTI-FM Philadelphia, Debra Lew Harder

1 Nov. Reflection. Kurt Knecht, St. Paul’s Episcopal, Kansas City, MO

2 Nov. Everyone Sang, Loyola University Chicago Choir virtual concert, Kirsten Hedegaard

2 Nov. Fleisher Discoveries podcast. The Idea of America in the Ives Holidays Symphony

7 Nov. Host, interviewer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra livestream

16 Nov. Completed America the Beautiful, commissioned by iSing Silicon Valley Girl Choir

18 Nov. Scott Tucker & Kile Smith, subscriber-only interview on Rise Up Shepherd, and Follow, Choral Arts Society of Washington, 5:00

22 Nov. Singing City Webinar Panel, 2:00, The Composer’s Craft in Choral Music, with Jeffrey Brillhart, Melissa Dunphy, Jay Fluellen

12–16 Dec 2021. The Consolation of Apollo and The Waking Sun. Recording with The Crossing and Quicksilver

17 Dec 2021. The Consolation of Apollo and The Waking Sun. The Crossing @ Christmas

19 Dec 2021. The Consolation of Apollo and The Waking Sun. The Crossing @ Christmas, Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Spring. The Book of Job. Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson. Staged premiere

9–12 Nov. Recording The Book of Job. The Crossing

13 Nov. The Book of Job. The Crossing, Donald Nally. Concert premiere

Works

Adieu, Adieu

Adieu, Adieu

Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei

Air and Jig

Air and Jig

Alabanza

Alabanza

Alleluia

Alleluia

American Spirituals, Book One

American Spirituals, Book One

American Spirituals, Book Two

American Spirituals, Book Two

And Good in Every Thing

And Good in Every Thing

And Seeing the Multitudes

And Seeing the Multitudes

Annunciation and Magnificat

Annunciation and Magnificat

Anthems

Anthems

The Arc in the Sky

The Arc in the Sky

Ballad and March for Organ

Ballad and March for Organ

Behold the Best, the Greatest Gift

Behold the Best, the Greatest Gift

Blue Lobster

Blue Lobster

The Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians

Canticle

Canticle

The Chambered Nautilus

The Chambered Nautilus

A Child’s Afternoon

A Child’s Afternoon

Come, Ye Sinners

Come, Ye Sinners

The Consolation of Apollo

The Consolation of Apollo

The Dawn’s Early Light

The Dawn’s Early Light

Everyone Sang

Everyone Sang

Exsultet

Exsultet

Fanfare on Ein feste Burg

Fanfare on Ein feste Burg

For His Mercy Endures Forever

For His Mercy Endures Forever

Four French Carols

Four French Carols

Give Ear, O Heavens

Give Ear, O Heavens

Go Forth into the World in Peace

Go Forth into the World in Peace

God So Loved the World

God So Loved the World

Gold and Silver

Gold and Silver

Grandmother’s Garden

Grandmother’s Garden

The Heavens Declare

The Heavens Declare

Holy Is the Lord

Holy Is the Lord

Holy Mountain

Holy Mountain

How Do I Love Thee?

How Do I Love Thee?

Hymns

Hymns

I Could See the Sky

I Could See the Sky

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

In This Blue Room

In This Blue Room

Jubilate Deo

Jubilate Deo

Jubilate Deo, for string orchestra

Jubilate Deo, for string orchestra

Kyrie and Gloria Patri

Kyrie and Gloria Patri

Mark the Music

Mark the Music

Mass for Christmas

Mass for Christmas

Mass for Philadelphia

Mass for Philadelphia

May Day

May Day

Mazurka for guitar

Mazurka for guitar

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

my son my son

my son my son

The Nobility of Women

The Nobility of Women

Now Ys the Tyme of Crystymas

Now Ys the Tyme of Crystymas

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium

O Sing unto the Lord a New Song

O Sing unto the Lord a New Song

O Thou Who Camest from Above

O Thou Who Camest from Above

Out of the Depths

Out of the Depths

Plain Truths

Plain Truths

Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poems of Stephen Berg

Poems of Stephen Berg

Red-tail and Hummingbird

Red-tail and Hummingbird

Reflection

Reflection

Rejoice in the Lamb

Rejoice in the Lamb

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem

Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem

A Song of Sonia Sanchez

A Song of Sonia Sanchez

Spirituals for Piano Trio

Spirituals for Piano Trio

Stationen auf dem Wege zur Freiheit

Stationen auf dem Wege zur Freiheit

Susquehanna

Susquehanna

Symphony: Lumen ad revelationem

Symphony: Lumen ad revelationem

The Red Book of Montserrat

The Red Book of Montserrat

There Is No Great and No Small

There Is No Great and No Small

Three Dances

Three Dances

Three Dances, for string orchestra

Three Dances, for string orchestra

The Three Graces

The Three Graces

Thrice blest

Thrice blest

Totentanz

Totentanz

Trinklieder für Männerchor

Trinklieder für Männerchor

Two Laudate Psalms

Two Laudate Psalms

Two Meditations on Freu dich sehr

Two Meditations on Freu dich sehr

Variations on a Theme of Schubert

Variations on a Theme of Schubert

Vespers

Vespers

Vespers for a Bach Orchestra

Vespers for a Bach Orchestra

The Voice of One Who Spoke

The Voice of One Who Spoke

The Waking Sun

The Waking Sun

Where Flames a Word

Where Flames a Word

The Word of God

The Word of God

You Are Most Welcome

You Are Most Welcome

The latest from Kile’s blog

Fleisher Discoveries: A Symphony of Chorales, a Historic Recording Project

Lukas Foss (1922–2009). Symphony of Chorales (1955–58) Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Hi, I’m Kile Smith, and this is Fleisher Discoveries! Fleisher Discoveries is a podcast from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music and the Free Library of...

Fleisher Discoveries: The Idea of America in the Ives Holidays Symphony

Charles Ives (1874–1954). Holidays Symphony (1887-1913) Washington’s Birthday Decoration Day The Fourth of July Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day (Autumn) Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud and Spotify! Hi, and welcome to Fleisher Discoveries! I’m Kile Smith....

Blue Lobster

Blue Lobster. Baritone, piano, 4'. Text by Jane Flanders (1940–2001). Commissioned by Benjamin Flanders. Ben Flanders sings in the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, so we've known each other since Craig Hella Johnson commissioned Canticle for them in 2016. Ben has...

What I’ve Learned from Pop Lyric Settings

[First published in the Broad Street Review 19 Oct 2020 and reprinted here by permission.] Since I set a lot of words to a lot of music, I’m interested in how others do it, others including composers of the past, of the present—and pop songwriters. The music of my...

Fleisher Discoveries: The Un-Classical Janáček Sinfonietta

Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Leoš Janáček (1854–1928). Sinfonietta (1926) Hi, and welcome to Fleisher Discoveries! I’m Kile Smith. Fleisher Discoveries is a podcast from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music and the Free Library of Philadelphia....

Fleisher Discoveries: The Uncertainty and Hope of Ernest Bloch

Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Ernest Bloch (1880–1959). Symphony in C-Sharp Minor (1902) Hi, it’s Kile Smith, and welcome to Fleisher Discoveries, a podcast from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music and the Free Library of Philadelphia. Gary Galván...

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow. SATB, piano, 4'. Premiered December 2020 by the Choral Arts Society of Washington, D.C., Scott Tucker, artistic director. Chorus America auctioned a composition from me at their 2019 annual conference, in Philadelphia that year. The...

Fleisher Discoveries: The Vaughan Williams “Pastoral” Is Not What You Think

Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958). Symphony No. 3 “A Pastoral Symphony” (1921) Hi, it’s Kile Smith, and it’s the Fleisher Discoveries podcast, from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music and the Free Library of...

Go Forth into the World in Peace

https://vimeo.com/469457632 Go Forth into the World in Peace. 2020. SATB, piano, 4'30". Commissioned by the Gieseke Family, dedicated to honor the faithful leadership of the Knox Youth Group, Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. Premiered October 18th, 2020,...

Fleisher Discoveries: John Sebastian, the Harmonica Champion of Philadelphia, and His Russian Concerto

Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Alexander Tcherepnin (1899–1977). Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra (1953) Hi, it’s Kile Smith, and it’s the Fleisher Discoveries podcast, from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music and the Free Library of...