A former WRTI host stays close to jazz with an organization designed to extend its reach. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston speaks with the founder of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.
Have popular “performance spectacles” replaced the straightforward dance between a jazz artist and an instrument? Director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson, is considering that question and innovative approaches to the performance of music that has often depended upon an intimate feel - and feeling.
Do you want to know what made the composer Frederic Chopin so special? I'll tell you. Chopin (March 1, 1810 - October 17, 1849) was one of the greatest pianists and composers who ever lived. Aside from revolutionizing the piano itself, enlarging its scope, the genres it lent itself to, and its breadth of color, Chopin essentially invented the scherzo and instrumental ballade as virtuoso piano movements, and reinvented the etude as a musically engaging genre, rather than a mere exercise.
Duke Ellington played piano, but it was his intertwined roles as bandleader and composer that propelled him to greatness. He wrote over 1,700 songs, as well as longer orchestral suites and film scores. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a recently published biography by Wall Street Journal drama critic and blogger Terry Teachout - now available in paperback - explores the man behind the music.
Tasmin Little is widely considered the finest British violinist of her generation. And though her repertoire includes works by the most influential composers in history, she has made a point of specializing in the music of lesser-known composers, despite how it might impact her career.
Little was also featured in a BBC documentary that details her investigation into the personal life of Delius.
We're thankful on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 29th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Film composer Victor Young (Shane, Around the World in Eighty Days) was a benefactor of the music department at Brandeis University, so when John Harbison had the opportunity to compose something for them, he wrote Thanks, Victor, echoing "When I Fall in Love" and other great tunes in this string quartet. Lawrence Dillon's Second String Quartet, "Flight," evokes flying and fugues, with, among other subjects, Daedalus and Icarus, birds, and paper airplanes.
Daedalus and Icarus also appear in William Bolcom's Inventing Flight for orchestra, as do Leonardo da Vinci and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Bolcom is grateful for the gift of flight, and we're grateful for the triumphant collaboration of this composer, his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, and librettist Arnold Weinstein in the ever-green Cabaret Songs. The program finishes with a fun, live recording of Vol. 4.
In the late 19th century, prominent composers began to emerge from countries that had not been center stage in international musical life. Among these leading figures were Jean Sibelius in Finland, and Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček in the Czech lands.
Listen to Rossini's ARMIDA on WRTI, Saturday, November 29th at 1 pm. The Rossini Opera Festival is an international opera festival entirely devoted to Gioachino Rossini and takes place in his hometown of Pesaro, Italy along the Adriatic Sea. It was founded in 1980, using funds donated to Pesaro by Rossini himself when he died in the 1869. Its mission is to revive, to perform on stage and to study the musical heritage connected with the composer.
For pianist and composer Andrew Hsu, music and family go hand in hand. From an early age, his father made sure that Andrew and his two siblings were each instilled with a love of good music. Classical was the household’s preferred genre, and the family piano its most beloved medium. Initially enraptured by the wonders of the instrument’s mechanics, by age seven Hsu began learning how to play properly, to replicate what he heard on the radio.
There’s an orchestra in Philadelphia that plays music weekly with professional musicians and talented amateurs. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia - now celebrating 50 years - rarely, if ever, has an audience.
WRTI’s Jack Moore has been principal conductor since 1997. The many guests who have led the group include musicians and assistant conductors from The Philadelphia Orchestra. Soloists have included Leila Josefowicz and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
With Thanksgiving at hand, memories of holidays past begin to fill our minds. Over the river and through the woods. Friends, family, and groaning boards of food. Telling and retelling stories. And more food. It’s that second helping that makes Thanksgiving so special.
So WRTI, an old friend, and one you consider family, will be offering second helpings throughout Thanksgiving Day...just for you. Each hour a favorite composer will be featured twice to warm and comfort you.