A Big Band Celebration!
2:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

WRTI's Big Band Kick-Off to Summer on Memorial Day Weekend!

The Airmen of Note

Memorial Day is known as the unofficial start of summer, but was established to honor fallen troops who gave their lives for our country. Join WRTI as we honor both aspects of this holiday weekend. We'll provide the perfect music to fuel your holiday barbeque all weekend long, featuring a type of jazz that - historically - goes hand-in hand with patriotism – Big Band!

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Opera on WRTI
1:11 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Lyric Opera of Chicago on WRTI: Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY, May 24, 1 PM

Soprano Patricia Racette sings Cio Cio San and tenor Stefano Secco sings Pinkerton in Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY.

Family, fortune, and honor—the geisha Cio-Cio-San forsakes them all for the callous American naval officer who calls her his "bride." But what she sees as a lifetime commitment, he treats as just a fleeting pleasure.

Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly features some of opera's most famous music, including Cio-Cio-San's heartbreaking "Un bel di" and the beautiful "Humming Chorus." It's Puccini's heartbreaking tragedy on WRTI. Saturday, May 24, 1 to 4 pm.

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Classical CD Selections
12:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Matthew Levy: People's Emergency Center

WRTI's Kile Smith, host of Now Is the Time, recommends...

Saxophonist and Prism Quartet founder Matthew Levy has spent his career getting other composers played; now the spotlight's on him in a new CD, and what a brilliance it reveals.

Call the Prism Saxophone Quartet contemporary-classical, call them avant-jazz, even call them omnivorous, but whatever you call them, they've been setting the gold standard for three decades. 2014 is in fact their 30th anniversary, and in that time, while centered in Philadelphia, they've been everywhere, stretching styles while inhabiting classical, jazz, world, and rock idioms.

Prism has commissioned more than 150 works, but in People's Emergency Center (Innova) they turn the entire two-disc set over to Matthew Levy.

People's Emergency Center is the first movement of Been There, and is also the name of a shelter helping women and children in West Philadelphia. It and the second movement, Gymnopedie (the word Erik Satie coined for his most famous piece), are culled from Levy's music for a documentary about the shelter. The Prism four (Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, Zachary Shemon, and Levy), bass, drums, guitar, and former Prism member Tim Ries on soprano saxophone all create magic with swirling precision.

Levy's voice is at once vernacular and otherworldly, steeped in jazz but living in—as Henry Cowell would have it—the whole world of music. Serial Mood seems to ponder that post-Schoenberg world of harmony, and in doing so reveals a tasty secret known to Dizzy Gillespie, Gunther Schuller, and a few other hep cats: If you play 12-tone music with a hard, swinging beat, it sounds for all the world like be-bop.

That's one of the unexpected treats that Levy offers. Another is the overarching spirit of generosity—to the listener and to each player. All the music of his I've heard exhibits this. Whether it's rhythmically striking, sonically challenging, or a charming tune, it is genial music offered warmly to a real world filled with real people who want something good to hear. An excellent example is Brown Eyes, which here employs the whole band, but which Levy first had played in public in a smaller version. The occasion of the premiere? His wedding.

[Been There and Brown Eyes were featured on Now Is the Time, May 10, 2014.]

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Latest From ICON Magazine
10:48 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Bob Perkins Tells The Story of Billy Strayhorn, Composer of "Take the 'A' Train"

Composer, arranger, and pianist Billy Strathorn is best known for his 30-year collaboration with Duke Ellington. His compositions include "Take the "A" Train," "Chelsea Bridge," and "Lush Life."

He stood five feet, two inches tall, and his musical colleagues dubbed him “Swee’ Pea,” after the little character in the Popeye cartoons. But Billy Strayhorn ranked with the giants that composed enduring standard popular music. He was also nobody’s cartoon character. The handle was a reverent tease, applied by Strayhorn’s musical associates in the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

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Gianandrea Noseda Conducts The Philadelphians
12:42 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

The Philadelphians in Concert on WRTI: Saint-Saens' "Organ" Symphony, May 25, 1 PM

Canadian violinist James Ehnes is a Grammy winner and a Juilliard graduate. He plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715.

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast this Sunday at 1 pm opens with a collection of “Symphonic Fragments” from Alfredo Casella’s rarely performed opera La Donna Serpente (The Snake-Woman), based on an 18th-century fable-play by Carlo Gozzi, and is followed by one of Sergei Prok

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Station Announcements
12:01 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Spring Member Drive Contest Winners!

Thanks so much to everyone who pledged during our recent Member Drive. Congratulations to all of our contest winners!

iPad Air Tuesday:
Nano Mardones from Freehold, NJ

Metropolitan Opera Ticket Contest:
Carol Shiffrin from Bala Cynwyd, PA

Brunch with Bob Perkins Contest:
Carolyne Whaley from Philadelphia

Be Our Guest Contest:
Frederic Gustafson from Philadelphia

Check Out These Jazz CDS!
4:17 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

May Jazz Picks from ICON Magazine

Nick Bewsey from ICON Magazine has a bunch of great jazz CDs to tell you about.

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Jazz Hot 11 Countdown
11:55 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Jazz Hot 11 Countdown: May 19, 2014

WRTI's Jazz Hot 11 is a weekly countdown of your favorite new jazz releases in rotation.  
This week's Hot 11:  
1. Bobby Watson & the "I Have A Dream" Project - Sweet Dreams - CHECK CASHING DAY  

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Creatively Speaking
12:31 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Shining a Light on Italian Composer, Pianist, and Conductor Alfredo Casella

Italian composer, pianist, and conductor Alfredo Casella (1883 - 1947)

Early 20th-century Italian composer, pianist, and conductor Alfredo Casella promoted music of his compatriots. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the 21st-century conductor Giandrea Noseda is shining a light on Casella’s lesser-known work.

Listen to a performance of Alfredo Casella's Barcarola e Scherzo for Flute and Piano, Op. 4 (1903):

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Creatively Speaking
11:17 am
Mon May 19, 2014

An Opera About... Charlie Parker?

Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920. He died in 1955 at the age of 34 in New York City.

Whenever Charlie Parker played a solo, you knew you'd feel good by the end. Opera Philadelphia is jumping off an even higher dive - an opera about the celebrated saxophonist, titled Charlie Parker's Yardbird that the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports will bring many unexpected things to the Perelman Theater at its 2015 premiere. 

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