Phil Kline


Phil Kline is a composer who makes music in many genres and contexts, from experimental electronics and sound installations to songs, choral, theater, chamber and orchestral music.

Raised in Akron, Ohio, he came to New York to study English Literature and music at Columbia. After graduation, he became part of the downtown New York arts scene: founding the rock band The Del-Byzanteens with Jim Jarmusch and James Nares, collaborating with Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and playing guitar in the notorious Glenn Branca Ensemble.

His early compositions grew out of his solo performance art and often used boombox tape players as a medium, most notably Bachman’s Warbler for harmonicas and twelve tape loops (1992) and the Christmas piece Unsilent Night, which debuted in the streets of Greenwich Village in 1992 and is now performed annually in dozens of cities around the world. Other compositions include Zippo Songs, a song cycle based on poems Vietnam vets inscribed on their Zippo lighters, The Blue Room and Other Stories, written for string quartet Ethel, and Exquisite Corpses, commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

More recent works include the choral mass John the Revelator, written for vocal group Lionheart; a piano sonata, The Long Winter, written for Sarah Cahill; and scores for three evening-length dance pieces by Wally Cardona: Everywhere, Site and Really Real. The sound installation World on a String opened the season at the Krannert Center in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in September 2007 and SPACE for string quartet and electronics was performed by Ethel at the gala reopening of Alice Tully Hall in 2009. Kline is currently working on an opera, Tesla in New York, in collaboration with writer-director Jim Jarmusch, and Out Cold, a song cycle for Theo Bleckmann and ACME.


Phil Kline appears in the following:

A is for Awesome, All-encompassing, Andriessen

Monday, April 07, 2014

Louis Andriessen has exerted a vital influence on American music over in the last few decades. Of course he’s Dutch and has stayed close to home most of his career, but the strength of his convictions and principles have traveled well.

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Kronos at 40: A 24-Hour Marathon Anniversary Stream

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Saturday, March 29, Q2 Music streams an encore presentation of KRONOS AT 40 – a marathon stream of 24 distinct hours surveying the Kronos Quartet's colossal contributions to 20th and 21st century music, along with insights from composers and the quartet.

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Interview with Krzysztof Penderecki

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

On the heels of last month's Symphony Space performance celebrating the 80th birthday of Krzysztof Penderecki, the legendary Polish composer joins Phil Kline in the studio. Listen Friday at 12 pm.


Premiere of Steve Reich's Radio Rewrite

Monday, November 04, 2013

Saturday at 7 pm, Q2 Music presented a live audio webcast of Alarm Will Sound's all Steve Reich concert from the Met Museum. It included the hometown premiere of Reich's Radiohead-inspired Radio Rewrite.

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Honoring Ned Rorem at 90

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 12 pm, Q2 Music honors the 90th birthday of the great song composer Ned Rorem with host Phil Kline and special guest Steven Blier, the co-founder and artistic director of the New York Festival of Song. 

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24-Hour Halloween Scarathon

Friday, October 18, 2013

Today, Q2 Music celebrates new music's favorite holiday, Halloween, with its first 24-hour scarathon of hair-raising microtones, densely clustered choruses and heart-pumping slasher film suites.


Celebrating Poland: An Overview

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This year marks the centenary of Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, and the 80th birthday of Krzysztof Penderecki. Today, join Q2 Music for an all-day marathon examining the diversity of contemporary classical music from Poland.

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George Steel and Phil Kline Indulge Stravinsky Obsession

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Conductor and New York City Opera general manager George Steel joins host Phil Kline for an in-depth look into the feverish, multifaceted innovations of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Hear this interview at 8 am and 8 pm on Q2 Music. 

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Top 10 Essential Rite of Spring Recordings

Monday, May 27, 2013

Recordings of The Rite of Spring began appearing shortly after the advent of the electronic microphone and continue to today. Phil Kline talks about his Top 10 Rite favorites. 

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What's in a Year: 1913

Monday, May 20, 2013

As we approach the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring’s premiere, I’ve been thinking about what a time it was, how, as the world teetered on the brink of political and military disaster, revolutionary change was imminent in all the arts.


World Premiere Recordings of Magnus Lindberg, Lee Hyla and Ann Southam

Monday, May 20, 2013

This week, we hear the world premiere recording of Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2, as delivered by the New York Philharmonic. We also sample Lee Hyla's new album "My Life on the Plains" and hear from our album of the week, featuring previously unrecorded music by Ann Southam.


Your First Time and Subsequent Obsession with The Rite of Spring

Monday, May 13, 2013

Composer Phil Kline has thought about The Rite of Spring "at least once every day since he first heard it at the age of four." When did you first hear it? What did you think? Do you have a favorite version? Let us know.

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The Rite of Spring Goes Solo

Monday, May 13, 2013

On Wednesday, pianist Vicky Chow celebrated the centennial of the premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring with a live performance from The Greene Space. Watch the full event.

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The Future According to Eno

Monday, April 22, 2013

"When Brian Eno first beeped across my radar screen, it was as the other-worldly, boa-draped synthesizer player in Roxy Music." All this week, Phil Kline explores Brian Eno's contributions to modern music. Listen weekdays at 11 am.

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Jean and Morty

Monday, January 28, 2013

Why juxtapose Sibelius and Feldman over a week's programming? OK, it's partly a whimsical reaction to a striking quote in Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, but there are, at least in their mature work, compelling commonalities. Hear Phil Kline weekdays from 11 am to 1 pm on Q2 Music.


Sensuality and Coldness in Debussy and Boulez

Monday, October 22, 2012

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Pierre Boulez (1925-): Two great French composers, one at each end of the continuum of twentieth century music. Debussy would typically be characterized as the more sensual and accessible, Boulez the colder and more forbidding, the hard-line modernist, but a little listening demonstrates their connections.


The Shostakovich Symphonies

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Shostakovich Symphonies are a maddeningly mixed bag, ranging from experimental to conservative, sublime to bombastic, and, most oddly, magnificent to awful. Hear them featured all week with Q2 Music's Phil Kline. 

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Percussive Fireworks from So Percussion and Friends

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hosted by Q2 Music's Phil Kline, the opening night of the 2012 Look & Listen Festival offered an array of percussive fireworks for marimba, Mbira, vibraphone and more, led by the evening's curators, So Percussion.


Phil Kline Hosts for American Mavericks

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The composer Phil Kline considers the history of mavericks in classical music -- "the lone wolf, deemed-a-crackpot, do-it-yourselfer" types. He notes that the label is no longer so relevant: "we’re all mavericky now."