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 hosts a two-hour radio show weekdays at 7 pm on New Sounds 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:

Radio Can Be a Lifeline, Phil Kline's Unsilence

Monday, March 19, 2018

Host Phil Kline confides that as kid, he went to bed with a radio under his pillow, searching for signals of life outside Akron. Listen to his show, Unsilence, Wednesdays at 11 am.

'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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Celebrating Trickster, Polystylist John Adams @ 70

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunday, Feb. 20, join host Phil Kline for an encore presentation celebrating the birthday of one of classical music's most celebrated and performed living composers: John Adams.

Comments [1]

Philip Glass @ 80: A 24-Hour Birthday Celebration

Monday, January 30, 2017

This Sunday, Q2 Music celebrates the 80th birthday of the iconic minimalist composer Philip Glass with an encore 24-hour marathon of his music. 

Comments [2]

Watch: Het Klankcafé and Q2 Music Celebrate Louis Andriessen

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This past October, Q2 Music teamed up with Het Klankcafé, a Dutch radio program about the contemporary classical music scene, to celebrate the music of Louis Andriessen and others.


SRx80: 24-Hour Celebration of Steve Reich's 80th Birthday

Monday, October 03, 2016

On October 3, Q2 Music celebrates Steve Reich's 80th birthday with a 24-hour marathon of his trailblazing music from 1965 to the present in chronological order. Phil Kline hosts.

Comments [10]

Dmitri Shostakovich at 110: 24-Hour Marathon

Monday, September 19, 2016

Listen to an encore stream on Tuesday, Sept. 27 of Q2 Music's celebration of the 110th anniversary of Dmitri Shostakovich’s birth. Enjoy 24 hours of his music hosted by Phil Kline. 

Comments [2]

Arvo Pärt @ 81: 24-Hour Marathon

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On September 11, Q2 Music celebrates the 81st birthday of beloved Estonian composer Arvo Pärt with a 24-hour marathon of his music, hosted by Phil Kline and featuring new recordings. 

Comments [1]

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!

Comments [1]

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]