(LENOX, Mass.) – Critically acclaimed new-music composer and all-around Renaissance man Phil Kline surveys the classical music scene from a composer’s viewpoint, looking at and listening to a wide variety of music written in the last few years, in “Unsilent Composer,” a presentation in The Stables at The Mount on Sunday, May 3, 2015, at 2pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music “Conversations With…” series. Kline, also a post-punk guitarist, lyricist, performance artist and the creator of “Unsilent Night” for boombox, is perfectly positioned to take stock of the huge influx of very active young composers, and how all of this is affecting orchestras and music presenters – a kind of “composer’s field guide to the most defining works of the 20th and 21st centuries— what endures and what’s changing in classical music.”
Kline may be experimental, but he hasn’t scared off less adventurous listeners. His talk and recorded selections are geared to centrist classical music appreciators as well as the hip-hop crowd.
A fixture of New York’s downtown scene, composer and lyricist Phil Kline stands out for his range and unpredictability. He makes music in many genres and contexts, from experimental electronics and sound installations to songs, choral, theater, chamber and orchestral works.
Kline hosts/curates a daily radio show on WQXR’s new music online station Q2, broadcast weekdays from 11am to 1pm. One of the most popular programs on Q2, the program showcases composers young and old, and highlights emerging composers and their works.
Phil Kline (photo Lovis Ostenrik)
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 Kline’s early work evolved from performance art and used large numbers of boom boxes, such as the Christmas cult classic “Unsilent Night.” Other diverse works include “John the Revelator,” a setting of the Latin mass written for early music specialists Lionheart, and “dreamcitynine,” which mixed 60 percussionists with hundreds of iPhones around the plaza of Lincoln Center.
As a composer of new music, Kline is perhaps best known for his chamber pieces “Zippo Songs” and “The Blue Room.”
Kline is currently working with Jim Jarmusch on an opera, “Tesla,” which will be directed by Robert Wilson and will premiere in Zagreb in December 2016.
“Unsilent Composer” is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas, an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable speakers as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar, performer and multimedia artist Robert Winter; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolican Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and award-winning poet Charles Coe.