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.

A veteran of New York’s downtown scene, Phil Kline stands out for his range and unpredictability. From vast boombox symphonies to chamber music and song cycles, his work has been hailed for its originality, beauty, subversive subtext, and wry humor. Early in his career he cofounded the rock band the Del-Byzanteens with Jim Jarmusch and James Nares, collaborated with Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and played guitar in the notorious Glenn Branca Ensemble.

Some of his early work evolved from performance art and used large numbers of boomboxes, such as the outdoor Christmas cult classic Unsilent Night, which is now an annual holiday tradition celebrated around the world. Other notable works include Exquisite Corpses, written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the politically-infused Zippo Songs and Rumsfeld Songs; John the Revelator, a setting of the Latin Mass written for early music specialists Lionheart; and the Sinatra-inspired song cycle Out Cold, written for Theo Bleckmann and premiered at BAM’s Next Wave Festival.

Phil contributes music programming, anecdotes, and insights to New Sounds Radio and is currently collaborating with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch on a music theater spectacle about Nikola Tesla. His music is available on the Cantaloupe, Starkland, and CRI record labels.


Phil Kline appears in the following:

'The Psalms Experience' Recap Program 1: Mortal Leadership and Divine Guidance

Friday, November 03, 2017

WQXR writers and contributors discuss the opening concert of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival's Psalms Experience.
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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]

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.

Comments [1]

'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]

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.

Comments [2]

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...

Comments [1]

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...


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 t...


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...

Comments [2]

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...