Phil Kline is an American composer. After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in English literature, he formed the New York No Wave band The Del-Byzanteens in the early 1980s with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and painter/filmmaker James Nares, collaborated with photographer Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and toured the world as a veteran of Glenn Branca's guitar ensemble.
Many of his works are moving sound sculptures which include multiple boomboxes. The most famous of these is Unsilent Night, which debuted in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1992. Annual December performances have spread to such cities as Ann Arbor, Asheville, Baltimore, Boulder, Cambridge, Charleston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Melbourne (Australia), Middlesbrough (UK), Missoula, New Haven, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Vancouver, and the Yukon.
Kline's compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Miller Theatre, the Whitney Museum, MASS MoCA, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, and London's Barbican Centre.
His CD containing Zippo Songs, a song cycle based on poems that American GIs inscribed on their cigarette lighters in Vietnam, was named "Best of the Year" by The New York Times, Newsday, Time Out, and Gramophone. The New Yorker called Zippo Songs "one of the most brutally frank song cycles ever penned."
Kline has received grants and awards from the American Composers Forum, Mary Flagler Cary Trust, Meet The Composer, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the Virgil Thomson Foundation. In 2004, he was the only classical composer nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize.
Kline’s largest work, the 65-minute Around the World in a Daze, was commissioned by the label Starkland to premiere on a surround sound DVD, which was released in March 2009. Several Kline recordings have also been released by Cantaloupe Music.
- Around the World in a Daze (2009)
- John the Revelator (2009)
- Zippo Songs (2004)
- Messiah Remix (2004)
- Ethel, "Blue Room and Other Stories", ETHEL (2003)
- Unsilent Night (2001)
- Renegade Heaven (2001)
- Immersion (2000)
- Alternative Schubertiade (1999)
- Glow in the Dark (1998)
- Emergency Music (1997)
- New York Guitars (1996)
- Bang on a Can Vol. 2 (1993)
- Ross, Alex (Nov. 8, 2004). "America, the Baleful", NewYorker.com.