Bill DiCecca

Back Before Bach: Piffaro's Musical Journeys

A local Renaissance band brings its virtuosity to a new recording of music J.S. Bach may have heard. Piffaro’s CD, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys , released in July 2017, is the pinnacle of over 35 years of experience. It’s the climax of countless concerts, the building of Piffaro’s vast collection of early music instruments and its honed concept of sound.

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Credit: Matthew Murphy

Benj Pasek (an Ardmore native) and Justin Paul—best friends from their days at the University of Michigan—won a 2017 Academy Award for writing the lyrics to the song "City of Stars" from the hit film La La Land. They're also Golden Globe winners! And now... they can add Tony awards to the mantle, including the 2017 Tony for Best Musical.

Edvard Grieg was just 24 when he wrote his only completed piano concerto in 1868. It's one of his greatest works, and launched his international career. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.
 


The song “Some Enchanted Evening” is a sublime moment in the post-war production South Pacific that continues to inspire. Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, Placido Domingo, The Temptations, Barbra Streisand, José Carreras, Bob Dylan, Jane Oliver and lots of other artists have recorded it.

Mark Garvin

The classic Broadway musical Gypsy is back, this time at the Arden Theatre through June 25th with Philly favorite Mary Martello in the role of Mama Rose. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns asks why this character is forever fascinating.


A New Work Sings of Freedom with Understanding

Jun 5, 2017

As we celebrate America this summer, a new choral work reminds us that American culture goes back way beyond 1776. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Spirit of the Winding Water.

Renée Fleming and Francis Collins have something unexpected in common: music.

Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, plays guitar. Fleming, of course, is a renowned soprano.

Known for his work with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius was one of the most inventive bass players in music history. He is the only electric bassist in DownBeat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.

The symphony, as we know it today, underwent major changes from the end of the 18th to the late 19th century. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, two symphonies from two composers in Vienna during that time illustrate the range of the form.
 


Sonny Rollins wasn't really thinking about the formation of an archive as he went about his life and career over the last 60 years — as a tenor saxophonist of unsurpassed stature, an artist of active spiritual and social engagement, and an embodiment of jazz's improvisational ideal.

The Second Violins Are Not Second Fiddle!

May 30, 2017
Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra

A large orchestra usually has 30 to 40 violinists, divided into two sections. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with violinist Paul Arnold about the critical, but often unsung role of the second violins.

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WRTI Arts Desk

While Samuel Barber is best known for his moving Adagio for Strings, 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 on Saturday, July 15, 2017 on WHYY-TV.   An encore performance will air on Friday, July 21st, at noon. 

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts has resided for over 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.

Midori's Passion Beyond the Concert Hall

Jul 19, 2017
Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The Curtis Institute of Music recently announced  that violinist Midori will be joining its faculty in 2018. Midori  has been performing with major orchestras since her 1983 New Year’s Eve debut at age 11 with The New York Philharmonic. While still in her teens, she developed another passion, which she will continue in Philadelphia.

In an era when women had little voice, 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen founded her own women's monastery, authored volumes of sacred text, served as a physician to her community, wrote the oldest surviving musical morality play, and produced plainchants of great expression and beauty. She was canonized in 2012.

Bill DiCecca

A local Renaissance band brings its virtuosity to a new recording of music J.S. Bach may have heard.  Piffaro’s CD, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys, released in July 2017, is the pinnacle of over 35 years of experience.  It’s the climax of countless concerts, the building of Piffaro’s vast collection of early music instruments and its honed concept of sound.

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