Phil Kline

Hosts weekdays at 11 am and 7 pm on Q2 Music

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.

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Latest Episode / Monday, May 16, 2016 Edit This

Why Erik Satie Is Still New Music

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. 

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.

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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.


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.

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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. 

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Phil Kline Spotlights Scandinavian Symphonist Per Nørgård

Monday, July 21, 2014

While the music of  Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg and Esa-Pekka Salonen has become quite familiar to American audiences in recent years, that of their important predecessor Per Nørg...


Gavin Bryars's Coolly Passionate, Accessible Avant-gardism

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gavin Bryars is one of the great polystylists of our time. His works could be by turns described as minimal, experimental, neoclassical, neoromantic, historicist or even jazz. Listen ...

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Danish Composer Per Nørgård Wins $200,000 Prize from NY Philharmonic

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Composer Per Nørgård has received a hefty prize from the New York Philharmonic: a $200,000 cash award, a commission to compose a new work for the orchestra.


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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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...

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Lisa Moore Offers a Dose From Down Under

Monday, August 26, 2013

Australian pianist Lisa Moore guest-hosts for Phil Kline all this week, offering a survey of her native country's new-music scene, alongside selections of traditional Aboriginal music...


A Carlos Chávez Anniversary Tribute

Friday, August 02, 2013

This Friday, from 11am to 1pm, join guest host Sebastián Zubieta, as we remember the music of Carlos Chávez, the most famous Mexican composer of the past century, who died 35 years ago this day.

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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 d...


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 contribu...

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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 the...


Sensuality and Coldness in Debussy and Boulez

Monday, October 22, 2012

Like the back end of a cosmic echo, Pierre Boulez’s Rituel of 1975 makes use of gamelan methods, something first evoked in Claude Debussy’s Pagodes, written in 1903.


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...

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