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:

New York, New York: 24-Hour Celebration with the NY Phil Biennial

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On Tuesday, May 24, Q2 Music joins the NY Phil Biennial with a 24-hour marathon of music from past Philharmonic shows and a live webcast of world premieres with violinist Jennifer Koh.


Why Erik Satie Is Still New Music

Monday, May 16, 2016

This week on Q2 Music, host Phil Kline celebrates what would have been the 150th birthday of the playful and provocative French composer Erik Satie. 

Comments [5]

Hearing Messiaen for the First Time and Six Illuminating Videos

Monday, March 21, 2016

Many of us have moments in our lives when we hear music that changes us. I vividly recall turning on the radio to listen to my local classical station when I was about 14.

Comments [2]

Maximum Messiaen: A 24-Hour Marathon with Alan Gilbert

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Thursday, March 24, celebrate the expansive but intimate music of the late iconic French composer, organist and bird-lover Olivier Messiaen with a 24-hour marathon of his works.

Comments [2]

Listen Live: Nadia Sirota Premieres Dennehy’s ‘Tessellatum’

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Hear violist Nadia Sirota give the premiere of Donnacha Dennehy's "Tessellatum" - a 40-minute work with solo viola and viol consort.

Comments [1]

Edgard Varèse: Another Cutting-Edge Composer Over 130

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Every now and then it occurs to me: Edgard Varèse! Such explosive sounds, like forces of nature, with as much visionary energy as ever existed in one composer... and hair to match!

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Happy Birthday, Olivier Messiaen

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Some composers take you into another world, far removed but instantly recognizable. Today at 11, Phil Kline celebrates the birthday of one such composer: Olivier Messiaen.


9 Ceiling-Shattering Composers of the Last 100 Years... and One from a Bit Earlier

Thursday, September 17, 2015

This began as a list of female composers who had "first" or "only" in their stories, but it morphed into something a bit different.

Comments [2]

In Celebration of Terry Riley: Haikus and a 24-Hour Marathon

Monday, June 22, 2015

Saturday, June 27 celebrate the 80th birthday of American maverick and patriarch of minimalism Terry Riley with 24 hours of his music and haiku tributes from close colleagues.

Comments [18]

Ann Southam: A Simple (24-Hour) Line of Inquiry

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Today, Q2 Music spends 24 hours with the quiet genius of the late Canadian composer Ann Southam, a musician just now starting to get the recognition she deserves.

Comments [4]

Armenian Genocide Centenary: A Far-off Country Which is Everywhere

Friday, May 01, 2015

Today at 11 am on Q2 Music, Phil Kline is joined by Armenian-American composer Eve Beglarian traditional and contemporary Armenian music.

Comments [1]

Big, Bad, Heavy and Dark: A 24-Hour Marathon

Friday, April 24, 2015

All day today, Q2 Music counters spring buoyancy with 24 hours of the heaviest, most profound music out there. Hosted by Phil Kline.

Comments [3]

Listen: Q2 Music's 2014 New-Music Countdown

Monday, December 22, 2014

Q2 Music closed out 2014 with a one marathon countdown of the top 100 pieces of the last 100 years, chosen by listeners. Check out the full results.

Comments [11]

'Music for 18 Reindeer'

Friday, December 19, 2014

For the 19th day of Q2 Music's inaugural Advent Calendar, download "Music for 18 Reindeer," a Reich-influenced track by composer and Q2 host, Phil Kline.


Peace on Earth

Saturday, December 13, 2014

For the 13th day of Q2 Music's inaugural Advent Calendar, download Peace on Earth, a festive track from Q2 host, Phil Kline.



Monday, December 08, 2014

For the eighth day of Q2 Music's inaugural Advent Calendar, download Hallelujah!, a Christmas treat by composer and Q2 Music host Phil Kline.

Comments [2]


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

For the second day of Q2 Music's inaugural Advent Calendar, download a Christmas bauble by Phil Kline, Shepherds. It sounds like Berlioz in a shopping mall. 

Comments [1]

Today on Q2 Music: 24-Hour Celebration of Charles Ives

Monday, October 20, 2014

Join Q2 Music all day on Friday, October 24 to celebrate the 140th birthday of Charles Ives - pioneering, maverick composer and grandfather of the American classical music sound. 

Comments [3]

Finn-to-Finn: 24-Hour Marathons of Einojuhani Rautavaara and Kaija Saariaho

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All day today, we celebrate the upcoming birthday of influential Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho with a 24-hour survey of her music, hosted by Phil Kline.

Comments [3]

Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla: Just an Old Fashioned Love Song

Monday, August 18, 2014

Even for Messiaen, the Turangalîla-Symphony is weird. Stream the new recording by Hannu Lintu and the Finnish Radio Symphony and Angela Hewitt all week. 

Comments [1]