A Classical Thanksgiving on WRTI 90.1

Family, friends, food—they're all part of our Thanksgiving memories. WRTI brings you the perfect soundtrack for the holiday, and dishes out second helpings of music along with some very special programs in the afternoon.

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Students at the W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences on the northwest edge of Philadelphia are introduced to farming, food science, and now, dance.


As Halloween approaches, what better time to consider classical music composed for, and about, the night? WRTI’s Susan Lewis sat down with pianist Jeffrey Siegel for insights into the nocturne and other music of the night.

Is it purely luck that determines our fortune in life? Carl Orff’s grand choral extravaganza, based on medieval poetry, Carmina Burana would seem to lead us to think so!

It was 100 years ago this week that Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1917. Considered by many to be one of the greatest violinists in history, he was just 16 years old at the time. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with commentator Miles Hoffman about that appearance and the career that followed.

Goblins and Ghosts. Mermaids and Princesses. Trick-or-treat comes next week and WRTI is getting ready to pass out tasty jazz nuggets. Here are some sweet indulgences – on the musical side.   

Don't miss this! The Philadelphia Orchestra musicians are celebrating their loyal audience members on Monday, October 23rd with their 3rd annual Audience Appreciation Day—26 small ensemble, free concerts, every 30 minutes starting at 9 am, and going all the way until 7:30 pm—in the city and suburbs.

Musicians from ASTRAL, LIVE on WRTI 90.1!

Oct 18, 2017

Something special happened on WRTI 90.1 on Thursday, October 19th! We hosted on the air, two amazingly talented young musicians from ASTRAL, a Philadelphia-based mentoring program that specializes in developing the early careers of extraordinary classical artists.

Three of the 20th century's greatest musicians all died on October 17, 1944 - and all at the hands of the Nazis. Czech composers Viktor Ullmann, Pavel Haas, and Hans Krasa all perished at Auschwitz (see videos of their music below); they were all taken there just three days after their final concert together on October 14, 1944 at the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

It’s back to school time, and for some, back to music lessons. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, music education is a particular passion of international superstar, pianist Lang Lang. This year he's expanding his efforts to get music into Philadelphia schools. 

What Is a Fugue?

Oct 16, 2017

You don’t need to know anything about classical music to love it. But a deeper understanding of its rich history and context can add something special to your listening experience. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston takes us on this short flight of the fugue, which reached the height of its popularity in the Baroque period.

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While Samuel Barber is best known for his moving Adagio for Strings, first performed in a radio broadcast in November of 1938, he wrote a lot of other music that continues to inspire musicians and listeners to this day. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked with filmmaker Paul Moon about his documentary, Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, which had its Philadelphia premiere in July, 2017 on WHYY-TV.   

Jennifer Higdon’s concerto, On a Wire, was inspired by images of birds, as well as the innovative versatility of the musicians of Eighth Blackbird, the contemporary soloist ensemble. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

How about a hollowed-out pumpkin as a drum? What about a carrot as a flute? Brussel sprouts rubbed together as squeaky keepers of the beat. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learns about vegetables with a life beyond the table. Since its official debut in 2011, the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra has evolved, this year appointing its first music director.


Steak sizzling on a grill at Pat's King of Steaks. A chorus of birdsong at the Philadelphia Zoo. These are just a few of the hundreds of sounds composer Tod Machover is collecting from people who live here for a unique musical profile to be performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra in April.

It's National Alzheimer's Awareness Month. WRTI's Susan Lewis reports on a musical work commissioned by a man to honor his parents who died of the disease. The work for chorus, soloists, and small orchestra surprised even the composer in its power to heal.   

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