Posted On: 11-21-17

December 16 - Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night: Louisville

WHO: You!
WHAT: Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night is a free, outdoor participatory sound sculpture. The composition is created when many individuals of all ages simultaneously play one of four tracks on mobile devices played through a roving swarm of speakers carried through city streets. Since 1992, this 45-minute work has grown into a worldwide annual event, and this year the tradition returns to Louisville since the last audience-led performance in 2014. For more information, visit
WHERE: We’ll meet on the steps of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts at 6:30PM sharp and make our way around downtown. Do your best to be on time as the piece relies on everyone pressing play at the same time. For a map of the planned route, click here.
WHEN: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 6:30PM until roughly 7:30PM
WHY: “Kline’s luminous, shimmering wash of bell tones is one of the loveliest communal new-music experiences you’ll ever encounter, and it’s never the same twice.” – Time Out New York HOW: 1. Get yourself a portable speaker to connect to your phone, tablet, etc. Some people in other cities have even put their large speakers in a wagon and brought them along for the walk or simply put their phone inside a mason jar to amplify the sound. 2. Visit the link below to access the four music tracks. If your last name starts with: A – F, download/stream track #1; G-L download/stream track #2; M-R download/stream track #3; S-Z download/stream track #4. TRACK LINK :  3. Meet in front of the Kentucky Center at the date and time above, and off we go!
A few things to keep in mind….. 
1. Unsilent Night: Louisville will not have cassettes or CDs available upon arrival to the Kentucky Center, so if you prefer to use a boombox system, you’ll need to handle those logistics in advance of the event. 2. Parking is available in the parking garage under the Kentucky Center or in adjacent lots for a fee. 3. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase in SCENE at the Kentucky Center before and after the walk. 4. It is encouraged to wear reflective gear and/or festive, portable holiday lights or glow sticks. 5. By participating, you assume all risk of injuries associated with participation including, but not limited to, falls, contact with other participants, the effects of the weather, and all other such risks being known and appreciated by you as the participant. By participating, you agree, for yourself and anyone entitled to act on your behalf, to INDEMINFY, HOLD HARMLESS, WAIVE AND RELEASE The Kentucky Center and The Kentucky Center Foundation, its officers, agents, employees, organizers, organizing and promotional partners, representatives, and successors from any responsibility, liabilities, demands, or claims of any kind arising out of your participation in this event.

KC Webpage

KC Facebook Event Page

Track Link

Downtown Louisville planned map link

Phil Kline’s holiday cult classic

UNSILENT NIGHT to take place in more than 37 cities throughout December 2017

This pioneering work of public sound art debuted in Greenwich Village in 1992 and is today a tradition that has been celebrated in 100+ cities across five continents. Kline’s electronic soundscape is played by the audience on boomboxes—and amplified phones—carried through city streets. Each participant simultaneously plays one of 4 composed tracks, together creating a joyous noise on foot (on bicycles in Austin!)

“A brilliant bond of public space and listening public.”
Unsilent Night is an original composition by Phil Kline, written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December, always as a free event. It takes the form of a promenade in which the audience becomes the performer (each participant gets one of four tracks of music that they play simultaneously), walking a carefully chosen route through a city’s streets.

It started in winter 1992, when Phil had an idea for a public artwork in the form of a holiday caroling party. He composed a four-track electronic piece that was 45 minutes long (the length of one side of a cassette tape), invited some friends who gathered in Greenwich Village, gave each person a boombox with one of four tapes in it, and instructed everyone to hit PLAY at the same time. What followed was a sound unlike anything they had ever heard: an evanescence filled the air, reverberating off buildings and streets as the crowd walked a pre-determined route, creating a mobile sound sculpture different from every listener’s perspective. “In effect, we became a city-block-long stereo system,” says Phil. The piece was so popular that it became an annual tradition, and then an international phenomenon.

While technological advances allow the piece to now be played through a multitude of devices, Phil Kline originally designed the piece to incorporate the unreliability, playback delay, and quavering tones of cassette tapes. “Today most people use digital audio players, so I make the audio available in that format as well—but there’s something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy,” he says.

The studio recording of UNSILENT NIGHT, which layers all the tracks, is available on Bang on a Can’s Cantaloupe Music label.



(Schedule updated daily at

(click on city name for details)
Detroit, MIDecember 1
Fargo, NDDecember 1
Flagstaff, AZDecember 1
Florence, ALDecember 1
Knoxville, TNDecember 1
Newnan, GA: December 1
Port Jefferson, NYDecember 1
Breckenridge, CO: December 2
Seattle, WA: December 2
Winchester, VADecember 2
Norfolk, VADecember 6
Wilmington, DE: December 6
Cambridge, Ontario: December 7
Delaware, OHDecember 7
North Adams, MADecember 7
Traverse City, MI: December 8
Malden, MA: December 9
Nacgodoches, TXDecember 9
San Francisco, CA: December 9
Atlanta, GA: December 10
Edmonton, AB: December 10
Mount Pleasant, MI: December 10
Philadelphia, PADecember 11
Colorado Springs, CO: December 16
Indianapolis, INDecember 16
Louisville, KYDecember 16
Nashville, TN: December 16
Sacramento, CADecember 16
Austin, TX: December 17
New York, NY: December 17
Denver, CODecember 21
Athens, GA: December 22
Hudson, NY: December 23
Columbia, MD: TBD
Joshua Tree, CA: TBD
Montréal, QC: TBD
Oberlin, OH: TBD


The original flagship event in NEW YORK CITY
(every December since 1992)

FREE as always