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. Co-commissioned by Conspirare and The Crossing, 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)
The music of Kile Smith (b. 1956) has received three Grammy nominations and is hailed nationally and internationally for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” Craig Hella Johnson has called Kile “one of our most important composers,” and said, “His voice is unlike any other … there is no other music like this. Utterly unique.” Kile has composed more than 75 choral works, about 80 songs including a half-dozen cycles, more than two dozen orchestral works, and over 40 chamber and solo instrumental works, including Thirty Variations on a Theme of Bartók for solo piano (2022).
Kile has been commissioned by The Crossing, Conspirare, Piffaro, Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Chor Leoni, William Ferris Chorale, Helena Symphony, Lyric Fest, Westminster Choir College, Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania and iSing Girlchoirs, Choral Arts Washington (DC), Choral Arts Philadelphia, Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, Gaudete Brass, and many others. Kile’s first opera, The Book of Job, co-commissioned by Conspirare and The Crossing, premieres in Austin and Philadelphia in the 2023/24 season.
The Arc in the Sky (The Crossing) received a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, and Canticle (Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble) helped win the 2020 Classical Producer of the Year Grammy. 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. Kile’s Where Flames a Word helped Voces Musicales win the 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year.
Just in 2021, the English Symphony Orchestra released the orchestral version of The Bremen Town Musicians with narrator Gemma Whelan; the Philadelphia Orchestra featured the original Bremen in their chamber music series; Ave Maris Stella was commissioned and premiered by Piffaro, the Renaissance Band with the vocal sextet Variant 6; Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinet Ricardo Morales premiered There’s a Land Beyond the River with piano, and Conspirare premiered April Showers, a song cycle on Tin Pan Alley lyrics with all-new music for four soloists and piano. Hal Leonard publishes Alleluia, Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow, The Star-Spangled Banner, and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
Major choral works of Kile’s are heard in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Canada, England, and New Zealand. Gramophone called Vespers “spectacular,” the Philadelphia Inquirer, “ecstatically beautiful … breathtaking,” American Record Guide, “a major new work,” Fanfare, “a magnificent achievement,” and Audiophile Audition, “a masterpiece of the deepest kind … 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 Kile’s music have been released since 2018. He has 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, and he has written works for Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim and principal horn Jennifer Montone.
Kile is also published by Hal Leonard, MusicSpoke, ECS Publishing, and Concordia Publishing House. He’s been Composer in Residence for Lyric Fest, the Helena Symphony, the Jupiter Symphony, and the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. For 30 years, the last 18 as Curator, Kile was at the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music, the world’s largest lending library of orchestral performance materials, at the Free Library of Philadelphia. 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 hosted Fleisher Discoveries on radio and podcast since 2002, and is a contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review.
Kile’s website is kilesmith.com, and he is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud. He and his wife, the soprano, organist, and conductor Jacqueline Smith, live outside Philadelphia. Their three daughters Priscilla Herreid (oboe, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical winds), Elena Kauffman (cello, Baroque cello, gambas), and Martina Adams (horn) are all professional 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 • The Choristers, Bucks Co. PA • 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 • William Ferris Chorale