The Dawn’s Early Light. 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, The Singing Guitar – Craig Hella Johnson, Conspirare, Austin Guitar Quartet, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Texas Guitar Quartet, Douglas Harvey, Estelí Gomez — Chicago Tribune Top 10 Classical Album, 2020 — WRTI Best of 2020 Album — Apple Music Featured New Album — Qobuz Grand Selection
The Arc in the Sky. 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, Donald Nally
Canticle. Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, Craig Hella Johnson, helped win 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh
The Book of Job. Opera for bass-baritone and chorus. Commissioned by The Crossing and Conspirare, premieres 2023/24 season
New Work. Santa Fe Desert Chorale, 2023
New Work, Chor Leoni, 2024
Thirty Variations on a Theme of Bartók. Milena Urban, piano, 30th Anniversary commission by Community Music School, Trappe, PA
Ave Maris Stella. Commissioned and premiered by Piffaro, the Renaissance Band with Variant 6, Oct 2021. “Held the audience spellbound”—Broad Street Review. “Endlessly inventive … dramatic … three-dimensional gestures”—David Patrick Stearns
Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow. SATB, orchestra. Premiered Kennedy Center, Dec 2021, Choral Arts Society of Washington, D.C., Scott Tucker, artistic director
Sometimes It Happens So. Five-song cycle, the estate of poet Jane Flanders
Alleluia. SATB. Hal Leonard
The Bremen Town Musicians, for narrator & orchestra; for narrator & for violin, cello. MusicSpoke
Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow. SATB, piano. Hal Leonard
The Star-Spangled Banner. SATB, piano, opt cello. Hal Leonard
Performances (Complete Calendar here)
Kile Smith’s critically-acclaimed music has received three Grammy nominations and is hailed nationally and internationally for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” He has commissions from The Crossing, Conspirare, Piffaro, Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Chor Leoni, Helena Symphony, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Lyric Fest, Westminster Choir College, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, the Pennsylvania and iSing Girlchoirs, Choral Arts Washington, Choral Arts Philadelphia, and Gaudete Brass.
The Singing Guitar (Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson) including Kile’s The Dawn’s Early Light with the L.A. Guitar Quartet and cellist Douglas Harvey, received a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance. The English Symphony Orchestra released The Bremen Town Musicians with Gemma Whelan, narrator, on CD. The Philadelphia Orchestra featured Bremen in their “Our City, Your Orchestra” chamber music series. Ave Maris Stella was commissioned and premiered by Piffaro, the Renaissance Band in 2021 with Variant 6. Ricardo Morales premiered There’s a Land Beyond the River, for clarinet and piano. The Arc in the Sky with The Crossing received a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, and the Canticle CD by Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble helped win the 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy for Blanton Alspaugh. Hal Leonard publishes Alleluia, Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow, The Star-Spangled Banner, and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. A Birch in Winter included Kile’s Where Flames a Word and won the 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year for Voces Musicales.
Major choral works are heard in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Canada, England, and New Zealand. Gramophone called Vespers “spectacular” and Audiophile Audition, “easily one of the best releases of the year of any type… a crime to pass up.” Westminster Choir sang The Consolation of Apollo in 2022, continuing its run of over 50 performances. Ten CDs with his music have been released since 2018. Kile has also been performed by Seraphic Fire, The 24, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Sofia Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids and Delaware symphonies, Orchestra 2001, and Network for New Music. Kile’s first opera, The Book of Job, co-commissioned by The Crossing and Conspirare, premieres in Austin and Philadelphia in the 2023/24 season.
The Philadelphia Inquirer called Vespers “ecstatically beautiful” and “breathtaking,” listing its premiere 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.” American Record Guide, “a major new work,” and Fanfare, “a magnificent achievement.” Conductor Craig Hella Johnson said about Kile’s music, that “his voice is unlike any other.”
He’s composed for Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim and principal horn Jennifer Montone. His music has been performed throughout the US, in Europe, and by The 24 and others in the UK. Kile received an Independence Foundation Fellowship for his first opera, The Book of Job. Kile has hosted Fleisher Discoveries on radio and podcast since 2002, and is a contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review.
Orchestras performing Kile’s music include the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Delaware, Grand Rapids, and Jackson (Tenn.) symphonies, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Sofia, Soﬁa Youth, and Shumen State Philharmonics of Bulgaria, and the Ocean City Pops.
He has received grants and fellowships from the Argosy Foundation, the Independence Foundation, Meet The Composer, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Philadelphia Music Project. Temple University (2011) and Cairn University (2012) have honored Kile as Alumnus of the Year.
Kile has been composer in residence for Lyric Fest, the Helena Symphony, the Jupiter Symphony, and 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)
American Guild of Organists, Philadelphia Chapter • Association of Anglican Musicians • Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church • Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston • Choral Arts Society, Philadelphia • Choral Arts Society, Washington, DC • Chor Leoni • Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia • Community Music School, Trappe PA • Conspirare • The Crossing • Jane Flanders Estate • Gaudete Brass • Greenville University • Helena Symphony • iSing Girlchoir • Jupiter Symphony • Khorikos • Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati • Latin Fiesta • Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra • Louisiana State University • Lyric Fest • Mélomanie • Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia • Network for New Music • Newburyport Chamber Music Festival • Orchestra 2001 • Pennsylvania Girlchoir • Piffaro, The Renaissance Band • Presbyterian Church of Barrington, Ill. • Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill , Philadelphia • Relâche • Santa Fe Desert Chorale • Singing City • St. Joseph’s University • Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra • Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra • University of New Mexico • Ursinus College • Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati • Westminster Choir College