happening as you sat there. Here was a true
Paul Griffiths, The New York Times
From spectacular boombox symphonies to chamber music and
songs, Phil Klines work has been hailed for its
haunting beauty, political subtext, and wry humor. His
music embraces culture both high and low, and is
performed in venues uptown and downfrom CBGBs
and the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the Whitney Museum
and Lincoln Center.
The song cycle ZIPPO
on poems that American GIs inscribed on their cigarette
lighters in Vietnam, plus songs on texts by Donald
Rumsfeldwas one of the most-talked-about CDs of
2004 (Cantaloupe). In performance and on disc, ZIPPO SONGS has received rave reviews
and coverage by CNN, NPR, The London Guardian, and many
others. The CD was named Best of the Year by
The New York Times, Newsday, Time Out, and Gramophone.
The New Yorker called it one of the most brutally
frank song cycles ever penned. The Philadelphia
Inquirer described it as Some of the most
disturbing and compelling songs Ive heard in
signature boombox piece UNSILENT NIGHT debuted on the sidewalks of Greenwich
Village in 1992. A public "parade" of hundreds
of boomboxes carried through city streets during the
Christmas season, UNSILENT NIGHT builds
a peaceful multi-dimensional sound environment out of
other-worldly voices and bells. Josef Woodard in The Los
Angeles Times described it as "A dreamy fruitcake of
parts, tranquil even through its anarchy, while Jon
Pareles in The New York Times said "It immerses a
listener in suspended wonderment, as if time itself had
paused within a string of jingling sleigh bells."
The annual event has grown into a cult holiday tradition,
drawing crowds of up to 1,000; it has caught on in cities
around the world, such as Atlanta, Cleveland,
Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Vancouver,
Middlesborough (UK), Berlin, and Sydney, Australia.
Cantaloupe Music, the record label created by the
new-music collective Bang on a Can, released a CD of UNSILENT NIGHT in 2001. Cantaloupe also
recorded Klines string quartet THE BLUE ROOM AND OTHER
STORIES, which was featured on the
2003 CD Ethel. Bang on a Can has been committed to
presenting Phil Klines music ever since he
premiered his breakthrough piece BACHMAN'S WARBLER (for
tape loops and 12 harmonicas) at the 1992 Bang on a Can
Marathon. Kline wrote his chamber work EXQUISITE CORPSES for the Bang on a Can
All-Stars in 1997, a piece featured on their debut CD for
Cantaloupe, Renegade Heaven. The All-Stars now tour the
world with Klines work in their active repertoire.
Recently Klines work has expanded on several
fronts, including songs and music for theatre and dance.
The 2005-2006 season includes the following premieres:
~ EVERYWHERE, a full-length mixed-media
dance score for the Wally Cardona company, to be
premiered at BAMs Next Wave Festival.
~ LOCUS SOLUS, a surrealist chamber opera
featuring vocalist Theo Bleckmann, violinist Todd
Reynolds, and the Talujon Percussion Ensemble, at the
Whitney Museums Altria space.
~ MASS, an evening-length choral work for the early music
vocal group Lionheart, at the World Financial
Centers Winter Garden.
~ AROUND THE
WORLD IN A DAZE,
a 5.01 surround-sound DVD on the Starkland label (the
first commercially released DVD commissioned and composed
specifically for surround-sound).
~ a new outdoor boombox work for the 2006 Winter Olympics
in Torino, Italy.
Also in the works is FEAR AND LOATHING, a song cycle based on the
writings of Hunter S. Thompson.
Phil Kline was born in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in
Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Columbia University with a
degree in English Literature before embarking upon a
career as a composer. A figure in the downtown New York
rock scene in the 1980s, he cofounded the art-punk band
the Del-Byzanteens with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and
painter James Nares, and toured the world as a veteran of
Glenn Brancas legendary guitar ensemble. Kline also
collaborated with photographer Nan Goldin on the
soundtrack to her Ballad of Sexual Dependency. This past
year Kline was the only classical composer nominated for
the Shortlist Music Prize for Artists Achievement In
Music, which honors the most creative popular records of