WRTI Is More Than Music…It’s a Partnership

We're in our Fall Member Drive, and we're celebrating YOU and the amazing things made possible on WRTI and in our community because of our partnership with you.

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Vijay Iyer is an acclaimed jazz pianist, MacArthur winner and Harvard professor of music. His new album, recorded with a six-person band, is called Far From Over. With the band, he says, he wanted to write with "different dance rhythms and dance impulses" in mind; the record also reflects Iyer's belief that jazz is "a category that keeps shifting."

Join us on Sunday at 4 pm for The Crossing chamber choir's first concert in their annual Month of Moderns choral festival, recorded live at The Icebox at Crane Arts Center in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia on June 11th, 2017, and conducted by Donald Nally.

Austrian composer Anton Webern became famous as a member of the "Second Viennese School," known for writing atonal music. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, an early work—officially premiered decades after Webern’s death—shows another side to the 20th-century modernist.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art; Bequest of Charles C. Willis, 1956

This week’s solar eclipse has a lot of people thinking about outer space. In his new composition, written for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Dirk Brossé uses the “spacey” sounds of an unusual instrument to depict an important encounter that took place on Earth -- not far from WRTI. 

Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.


At 46, Ben Jaffe is almost exactly the same age as Jazz Fest. Like a lot of New Orleans natives, he has memories of the annual event stretching back to childhood, though his experience is a little more rarefied than most. "That's where I got to sit on Fats Domino's lap and then hear him play," he says. It's where I heard Allen Toussaint play for the first time as a child.

Williams James Basie, born on August 21st, 1904 in Redbank, NJ, would grow up to become jazz royalty.  Ever wonder how he got the name Count? Although there were different theories over the years, Basie himself cleared it up with the story reported in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it (1966) by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff.

The Venezuelan government has cancelled the upcoming U.S. tour by the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and its star conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who is also the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

El Nacional, a major Venezuelan paper, reported yesterday that the cancellation was ordered by the presidency.

NASA

Solar eclipse fever has seized America! And whether you're watching outside with "eclipse glasses," or inside—on TV or online—WRTI is here to keep you company with great music inspired by the heavens! 

When WRTI Jazz Host Bob Perkins talks about one of his all-time favorite pianists, what does he call him?  The Wonderful Wizard of OZcar!  One of the great jazz pianists of all time, master of the keyboard Oscar Peterson, said he was intimidated by jazz pianist Art Tatum and admired Nat King Cole. But "O.P.," as his friends called him, was a magician who followed his own muse.

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WRTI Arts Desk

When it's time to celebrate, no music expresses the joy of life like klezmer. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder takes us into klezmer's rich world and heritage. A Happy and Healthy New Year to all of our listeners celebrating the Jewish High Holidays!

Opera Philadelphia/Dominic M. Mercier

In a new opera, We Shall Not Be Moved, five teens find shelter in a condemned house in West Philadelphia, inhabited by ghosts recalling five children killed in 1985 when police bombed the headquarters of the black liberation group, MOVE. WRTI’s Susan Lewis spoke with the composer, whose work explores issues of racial and social injustice today. The opera is part of Opera Philadelphia's O17 Festival.

Johannes Brahms' last work was composed for an instrument he’d not written for in decades, in a style that harkened back to J.S. Bach. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Brahms' chorale preludes for organ.

A New Mural Rising to Honor John Coltrane

Sep 12, 2017

A 12-year-old mural of John Coltrane near his North Philadelphia house was destroyed in 2014 to make way for real estate development. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on a new mural now rising just blocks away, restoring the jazz giant to his old neighborhood.

Jessica Griffin

Early solo viola repertoire was often played by violinists who also played the viola. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, that music today puts violists in the spotlight, including Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Violist Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang.

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