Music Graduate Tyler Kline Hosts Radio Show and Releases New Works

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tune into FM 89.1 or 103.9, and hear symphony orchestras, bands, small ensembles, and solo musicians. It's Classical WSMR – Tampa Bay's very own 24/7 classical music station by WUSF Public Media. Its 85,000 weekly listeners prove classical music is alive and well.

Hear the voice of USF music graduate Tyler Kline, who hosts "Evenings with Tyler Kline," a radio show of classical favorites and local music happenings that allows Kline to serve the classical music community as he continues to release new works as a composer.

Kline received his Master of Music degree in composition from USF in 2015. After graduating, he taught aural theory classes for one year as an adjunct faculty member at the USF School of Music. Today, he continues to compose alongside his work at Classical WSMR. His responsibilities at the station include on-air radio hosting and music library management as well as audio engineering and production work.

"I try my best to be as well-rounded as I can be in whatever I'm doing," said Kline. "Whether that's the radio station or teaching. I never really dreamed that I would be teaching aural theory, for example ... It happened, and you have to be ready for that."

Kline's music background proves to be excellent experience when doing audio production work, which includes mixing live performances.

"In the construction of production, I think about it in similar ways that I do when I put music together," said Kline.

Additionally, he offers a unique perspective through his audio segments that introduce musical works to listeners.

"I'm the only person over there that is a composer," said Kline. "So I think that I would probably find something different to talk about with the music."

In 2016, Kline had the pleasure of showing local leaders the inner workings of WSMR. Members of Leadership Tampa, a group hosted by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, had the chance to tour the WUSF/WSMR studios and even practice being a radio host.

"It made me realize that this isn't easy," said Kline. "I mean I've been doing it since 2009, but there is a lot of thought that goes into it. But when you do it long enough, it just becomes a part of what you do."

Kline says the hardest part of his job is pronouncing the names of composers. A single segment of commentary can including saying names from multiple languages.

"That is hands down the most challenging part," said Kline.

Even so, Kline delivers a diverse array of classical music, allowing WSMR to serve its loyal listeners in the Bay area. Kline recalls a story often retold at the station.

The story is about a couple who was trying to decide whether to live in the Tampa Bay area or in North Carolina. In the end, they decided to live in Tampa to have a classical radio station that cares about its listeners, according to Kline.

"We were really important to those people," said Kline.

Even with his responsibilities at WSMR, Kline says he has never composed more.

"Composition is making sense of the world to me," said Kline.

One of his recent compositions is Collapsing Geography, a duet for oboe and marimba that was commissioned by oboist Ursula Sahagian. It premiered in January 2017 in Seattle alongside existing works by Kline.

He also composed Loam, a concerto for tuba and percussion orchestra commissioned by School of Music faculty members Jay Hunsberger and Robert McCormick. It is scheduled to premiere at the School of Music in the Fall of 2017.

Kline began his composing studies informally while pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Music at Morehead State University in Kentucky. As a student at Morehead, he attended a composition lesson with composer James Grant, who works closely with USF music faculty. He recommended Kline be in touch with Dr. Baljinder Sekhon, Assistant Professor of Composition at USF.

"In retrospect, it's like I probably wasn't where I should have been as a composer because I hadn't been studying formally, and I was kind of just figuring things out on my own," said Kline. "But I got into USF, somehow, and that really changed everything for me."

At USF, Kline had the chance to be in an environment that caters to the study of composition. With the guidance of Sekhon, Kline was able to delve into the happenings of the composition field and see his aesthetic of composing change.

USF composition students have an extensive amount of opportunity to have their works played live, said Kline. This includes four opportunities to perform each semester as part of the curriculum as well as USF Student Recital Convocation, off-campus recitals, and calls for scores. Graduate composition students are required to have their works played outside the state at least once per semester.

He followed Sekhon's philosophy, which centers around getting pieces performed extensively and allowing the rewards to fall into place.

Through opportunities like these, Kline had a great start to his composition career.

"Baljinder set me on the right path," said Kline.

Additionally, Kline used the network of creative students at the College of The Arts to do something he had been wanting to do – score music for dance.

In a collaboration with fellow composition alumnus Sean Hamilton, Kline created music for Tension of the Release, a dance piece choreographed by USF dance alumna Jackie Dugal.

Kline also created music for Fastigia, a composition choreographed by USF dance alumna Sarah Walston of Florida Dance Theatre.

Kline describes scoring dance with his peers in the College as an overwhelmingly positive experience.

"They were willing, and it's like they didn't care how crazy or strange the music you wanted to write or perform," said Kline. "They were excited about the process."

Kline recently co-founded Terroir New Music with fellow USF music graduate Susanna Hancock, who currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Music.

Terroir New Music is a Tampa-based contemporary music series that combines new music with local food and beverage to foster a community centered on food, drink, and music. Curated samplings of local food and beverage correspond with musical selections to create a program that honors both culinary and musical craftsmanship.

Through Terroir New Music, Kline and Hancock combine their passions of food and music to bring an informal contemporary classical music experience to the wider Tampa community. Attendees also discover the hidden gems of local Tampa cuisine.

Terroir's first event, Terroir 001: starter, will be held at c. 1949 Florida Beer Garden on May 4. Visit the Terroir New Music on Facebook for more about the series.

Kline continues to bring music – both his own and otherwise – to audiences. He continues to seek additional ways to bring new music to listeners.

He hopes to one day host a new music program that brings seemingly inaccessible music to new audiences. For example, he sees composers such as Takemitsu and the French spectralists as having a direct lineage back through the celebrated French composers Messiaen and Debussy. Kline says he would present new music in a way that is informative and shows how the music came to be.

"I think that's important," said Kline. "So that is one of my goals ... and everybody over there knows that."

Regardless, he treasures working in classical music broadcasting.

"We are one of the few classical stations left in the country – like all classical," said Kline. "The fact that we are dedicated 24/7 to classical music and people listen to us and it's all supported by our listeners – that's a beautiful thing. I am really excited to be a part of that."

For more on Tyler Kline, please visit tylerklinemusic.com