Jan Regan/Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2017 Beijing Concert on WRTI! Beethoven's 9th, July 2, 1 PM

On the stage of China's National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing—just a month ago—Yannick Nézet-Séguin , stood before his Philadelphia Orchestra and spoke to an audience that included sponsors, patrons, musicians, diplomats, Chinese government officials and business leaders, as well as delegations from Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Known for her distinctive singing, which she did most often from the keyboard, Shirley Horn studied classical music before turning to jazz in the 1950s.  In the early '60s she caught the attention of Miles  Davis, and then her career started to take off.

Tony Webb / City of Philadelphia, 2016

When the Newport Jazz Festival announced that Philadelphia-born musician Christian McBride would assume the role of its artistic director in 2017, festival founder and current producer George Wein said, "When I first met Christian McBride in 1989, I knew he was someone special.

The bass player, composer, band leader, arts and education advocate strikes people that way.  Along with his stand-out talent and engaging personality, McBride pays attention and seems to live in the moment.  That focus reaps rewards for McBride and for the rest of us.   

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s life has been fueled by music for over eight decades. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he says an early listening experience was the spark.

A recent recording of an opera that premiered in 1937 shines a light on a Polish composer. He survived the Holocaust, but emerged from hiding only to shun his earlier success. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Joseph Beer.

Credit: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera, 2017

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been entering the Metropolitan Opera through the backstage artists' entrance for years, though now it’s different: He’s now among those who run the place. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns met him there prior to his April to May run of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman.

Jon Batiste on TV, in the Community, and in Philadelphia

Apr 25, 2017

A supercharged jazz musician has entered the public eye in a huge way. Jon Batiste leads the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He traveled to Philadelphia for the kickoff of Jazz Appreciation Month and spoke with WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston.

One hundred years ago Tuesday, in a working-poor neighborhood of Newport News, Va., a laundress and a shipyard worker had a baby girl. The father soon disappeared, and the mother and child moved north to New York. The mother died. The girl ran away and became one of the most important singers of the 20th century.

Ella Fitzgerald could sing anything: a silly novelty song, like her breakthrough hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." A samba that scatted. A ballad, spooling out like satin.

Despite being a Polish Jew, 17-year-old aspiring composer Joseph Beer won admission in 1925 to the prestigious Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, which had a quota for both Jews and Poles. He was also allowed to skip the first four years of the curriculum to study composition in master classes, and went on to graduate with highest honors.

It was 1930, two years before Hitler became chancellor of Germany.

On June 10th, 1942, Nazis swept in and obliterated the village outside of Prague. They killed the men, sent the women and most of the children to concentration camps, and burnt or leveled the entire town—even the cemetery.

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Wednesdays, noon to 3 pm

WRTI Presents: Grover Washington, Jr. Reunion Concert, July 18th, 7:30 pm

Featuring Gerald Albright, Najee, and Jean Carn at
Temple Performing Arts Center

Wednesdays, 9 pm to midnight

WRTI Arts Desk

When the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned Jonathan Leshnoff to write a concerto for principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales, the composer realized a connection between the clarinet and...the Hebrew alphabet. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explains.


Pianist Lara Downes' Vision of the American Dream

Jun 26, 2017

The hope in the "American Dream" is heard in America Again, the new CD by pianist Lara Downes. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story.

In his early twenties, Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) won the title "Argentina's Great Musical Hope" with works such as the ballet score Estancia, and popular piano pieces like Danzas argentinas, which strongly evoke the rhythm and flair of the folk music of Argentina.

The second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7—the Allegretto—has captivated listeners since the symphony’s 1813 premiere, when it was so popular that the orchestra used it as an encore. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on why this particular movement continues to engages us.

The summer jazz festival season is about to start. Blockbuster performances at the “Big Three” longest-running summer jazz fests still engender re-makes and recordings. These historic performances live on as benchmarks. Now, starting with the Montreux Jazz Festival — founded in 1967 — WRTI examines highlights from Montreux, Newport, and Monterey.

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