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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 music of Grammy-nominated composer Kile Smith is hailed internationally by critics, performers, and audiences for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” Gramophone called the “sparkling beauty” of 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” … more here…

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…

TEN NEW CDs With The Arc in the Sky, The Crossing and Donald Nally were nominated for the 2020 Grammy Best Choral Performance. Canticle and Alleluia with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati helped win the 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh. The Dawn’s Early Light was released 2020 by Conspirare with the L.A. Guitar Quartet and cellist Douglas Harvey. Where Flames a Word, In This Blue Room, Canticle, The Arc in the Skymore here…

PERFORMANCES Feb 2021 saw The Bremen Town Musicians on the Philadelphia Orchestra Our City, Your Orchestra series with violinist Juliette Kang, cellist Priscilla Lee, and narrator Charlotte Blake Alston. The English Symphony Orchestra released a video of the orchestral version of Bremen in 2021 with Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) as narrator. The Arc in the Sky moved from The Crossing’s Philadelphia premiere and CD 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 Triomore 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

1 Jan. Fleisher Discoveries: The Ultramodern Protest of John J. Becker

9 Jan. Blue Lobster. Premiere, Cincinnati SongSlam. Ben Flanders, Nell Flanders

15 Jan. The Arc in the Sky, selections. Friday Choral Connection with Debra Lew Harder, 1:30

19 Jan. Spirituals for Piano Trio. St. Paul’s Episcopal Concert Series, Kansas City, MO

20 Jan. The Dawn’s Early Light. Classical Connections, WPRB Princeton, Marvin Rosen

25 Jan. Strathmore Children’s Chorus video conference, Michael Wu

Feb–Mar. Kile Smith Photography Exhibit, The Broad Street Grind, Souderton, Pa.

1 Feb. Fleisher Discoveries: Alfredo Casella, Seeing the New in the Old

3 Feb. The Bremen Town Musicians. Caroline Eva Chin, Bowling Green State University, 8

6 Feb. Chorale Fantasias from Vespers. Premiere, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, Allan R. Scott

6 Feb. Host, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra livestream

12 Feb. Livestream discussion with Variant 6, Piffaro about Ave Maris Stella

13 Feb. A Child’s Afternoon. Classical New Releases, Mark Pinto, WRTI-FM, Philadelphia

22 Feb. The Bremen Town Musicians. Juliette Kang, vn, Priscilla Lee, vc, Charlotte Blake Alston, narr. Philadelphia Orchestra Our City, Your Orchestra video premiere

23 Feb. A Child’s Afternoon. Anna Meyer, fl, Erik Meyer, org, Abington Presbyterian Church livestream, noon

24 Feb. A Child’s Afternoon. Anna Meyer, fl, Erik Meyer, org, WQLN Erie, PA

Feb–Mar. Kile Smith Photography Exhibit, The Broad Street Grind, Souderton, Pa.

14 Mar. Completed new version of “April Showers” (final song of April Showers), adding double bass and revising piano accordingly

15 Mar. Completed There’s a Land Beyond the River, solo violin

28 Mar. Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts. Kiley Hazelton, soprano, Mark Bilyeu, organ, Calvin Presbyterian Church, Long Lake, MN

1 Apr. Fleisher Discoveries: A Rough Beginning for The Tender Land of Copland

2 Apr. Completed There’s a Land Beyond the River, clarinet and piano

14 Apr. Everyone Sang, WPRB-FM, Classical Discoveries, Marvin Rosen

15 Apr. Online discussion with English Symphony Youth Orchestra illustrators about The Bremen Town Musicians video

16 Apr. The Bremen Town Musicians video released, English Symphony Orchestra, narrator Gemma Whelan, conductor Kenneth Woods

19 Apr. Intrada for six horns finished, for the Curtis Institute of Music horn studio

23 Apr. Online Q&A, Working with Conductors, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley Choirs, with Sean Taylor, Craig Hella Johnson discussing Canticle, The Dawn’s Early Light, others

28 Apr. Online Q&A, Curtis Institute of Music horn studio, with Jeffrey Lang

1 May Fleisher Discoveries: Aurelio de la Vega: Out of Cuba

8 May. There’s a Land Beyond the River. Clarinet, piano premiere, Ricardo Morales encore, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra

8 May. Host, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra livestream

11 Jun. April Showers. Premiere. Conspirare, conducted by Craig Hella Johnson: soprano Stefanie Moore, mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright, tenor Dann Coakwell, baritone Simon Barrad, with Austin Haller, piano, and Tom Burritt, drums

13 Jun. April Showers. Conspirare

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

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

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

Works

The Bremen Town Musicians, for Orchestra

The Bremen Town Musicians, for Orchestra

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

April Showers

April Showers

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

Chorale Fantasias from Vespers

Chorale Fantasias from Vespers

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: Aurelio de la Vega, Out of Cuba

Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Aurelio de la Vega (b. 1925). Elegy (1954) de la Vega. Symphony in Four Parts (1960) Hello and welcome to Fleisher Discoveries! I’m Kile Smith. Fleisher Discoveries is a podcast from the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral...

James Primosch, 1956–2021

Dear Jim, I didn't know you well. That isn't quite true; I knew you better than many other composers I know. I didn't know you as well as I would've liked. Yes. That is true. It's a hazard of the profession, not knowing other composers. We don't hang out with each...

Fleisher Discoveries: A Rough Beginning for The Tender Land of Copland

Aaron Copland (1900–1990). The Tender Land, Orchestral Suite (1958) Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! 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...

Bliss Michelson, 1949–2021

There's a warm remembrance of Bliss on the WRTI website, along with a lovely note by Debra Lew Harder. He died last week from COVID-19, following his wife Peggy, who was taken by the pandemic only a fortnight earlier. So sad. I had seen Bliss playing in the bass...

Art Daniels, 1928–2021

The Fleisher Collection employed two full-time music copyists when I, a part-time copyist while working on my master's in composition, started there in 1981. Sadie Morgan, whom I replaced in 1983 when she retired, was one. Art Daniels was the other. We sat next to...

Fleisher Discoveries: Fleisher Brings Peru to Washington

Celso Garrido-Lecca (b. 1926). Symphony No. 1 (1960) Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! 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...

April Showers

April Showers. A song cycle for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, and piano. 17'. Commissioned for Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson. Online premiere June 2021 by soprano Stefanie Moore, mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright, tenor Dann Coakwell, baritone Simon...

Fleisher Discoveries: Alfredo Casella, Seeing the New in the Old

Alfredo Casella (1883–1947). Concerto for Strings, Piano, Timpani, and Percussion (1943) Primo tempo: Allegro aliquanto pesante Sarabanda Finale: Allegro molto vivace Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Hi, and this is Fleisher Discoveries! I’m Kile Smith. Fleisher...

Chorale Fantasias from Vespers

Chorale Fantasias from Vespers, for small orchestra Steht auf, ihr lieben Kinderlein! Triple Canon: Nun danket all und bringet Ehr O süßer Herre Jesu Christ In dir ist Freude 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, strings. 10’. Commissioned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania...

Fleisher Discoveries: The Ultramodern Protest of John J. Becker

John J. Becker (1886–1961). Symphonia Brevis, Symphony No. 3 (1929) Scherzo in the spirit of mockery Must life forever be a struggle? Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify! Hi, I’m Kile Smith, and welcome to Fleisher Discoveries! Fleisher Discoveries is a podcast from the...