The Story Behind the Presidential Anthem "Hail To The Chief"

At what’s likely to be a frosty noon-time ceremony this January, one presidential candidate will be announced with a well-known march preceded by the ultimate in U.S. fanfare: not one, but four sets of drum ruffles and bugle flourishes.
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The wit and sparkle of Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, the nobility of one of the cornerstones of the cello repertory, Elgar’s Cello Concerto—played by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser—and the brilliant set of Haydn Variations that led the 40-year-old Brahms to complete his first symphony three years later are all yours to enjoy on this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast.


Seven of the world’s foremost choral composers have composed 15-minute musical responses to Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, a monumental sacred work of the German Baroque consisting of seven cantatas. The Crossing performs the new works alongside Buxtehude’s 1680 composition, with two leading ensembles in their respective fields of performance: Quicksilver Baroque and ICE, the International Contemporary Ensemble.

This summer, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts is marking 40 years in its West Fairmount Park home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on how this Philadelphia venue for summer music came to be.

Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles is busy with leadership positions in the opera and symphonic worlds in Germany, Scotland, and America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles Runnicles, who is also a regular guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  


Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now years into his series of Mozart opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being The Marriage of Figaro. But with so many recordings already on the market, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what place can this one claim.



Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was so revered in his homeland that the government commissioned him to write a symphony as part of a national celebration of his 50th birthday. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on what has become one of the composer’s most famous works.


Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.

Even if you’re not familiar with the Broadway musical Carousel, you’re likely to have heard the uplifting message and melody of the song "You’ll Never Walk Alone." Its roots in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical extend far beyond the story of love and loss.

Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

They perform at presidential inaugurations, state funerals, public concerts, all sorts of official functions, and, of course, in parades. They are the bands of the United States military. Each of the branches is served by a number of these ensembles, and the so-called premier bands take only first-tier musicians from conservatories and schools of music around the country.

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WRTI Arts Desk

This summer, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts is marking 40 years in its West Fairmount Park home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on how this Philadelphia venue for summer music came to be.

Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles is busy with leadership positions in the opera and symphonic worlds in Germany, Scotland, and America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles Runnicles, who is also a regular guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  


Angus McBean / Warner Classics

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin was born in NYC in 1916. In 1926, the child prodigy made his recital debut at the Manhattan Opera House and had his first concerto performance with the San Francisco Orchestra. From 1928 until the year of his death in 1999, Menuhin had the longest-running contract in the history of the recording industry with EMI Classics, which was recently acquired by Warner Classics.

At what’s likely to be a frosty noon-time ceremony this January, one presidential candidate will be announced with a well-known march preceded by the ultimate in U.S. fanfare: not one, but four sets of drum ruffles and bugle flourishes.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now years into his series of Mozart opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being The Marriage of Figaro. But with so many recordings already on the market, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what place can this one claim.



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