Debra Lew Harder

Classical Host, Arts Desk Reporter

A concert pianist, teacher, and writer, Debra has always believed in the power of art to transform people's lives.

Debra has performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., and in solo recital and lecture-recital at Wigmore Hall in London, The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, the Xavier University Piano Series in Cincinnati,  American University in Washington, D.C., the historic Barocksaal in Rostock, Germany, New York City’s Merkin Hall, Haverford College's Guest Artists Series, the Jefferson Medical College Dean's Concert Series, the Legg-Mason Annual Intellectual Capital Conference, and at Camden-Rutgers University.

She was the founder of the Grand Piano Concert Series in Columbus, Ohio, and has appeared in collaboration with many artists, including Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim, cellist Efe Balticigil, violinists Hirono Oka and Barbara Govatos, and many others. Her piano trio, Trio Miresol, is a popular presence around the Philadelphia region.

Debra earned a medical degree and practiced as an emergency room physician before earning a second doctorate in music from the Ohio State University, where she studied with, and served as teaching assistant to, the legendary American virtuoso Earl Wild.

A devoted music educator, Debra has taught at The Ohio State University and currently is on the piano faculty of Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Her creative output includes nationally published essays, as well as numerous transcriptions for solo piano from the jazz, orchestral and non-Western repertoire.

Debra is now thrilled to be curating and hosting WRTI's Saturday Classical Coffeehouse, every Saturday morning.

With her husband Tom, she lives in the Philadelphia area; they have two wonderful daughters, an equally wonderful son-in-law, and an incorrigible terrier.

Hear Debra on Saturday mornings for Classical Coffeehouse, 6 am to 12 noon, and as a substitute host during weekday classical hours. She also produces Arts Desk features, which you can see below.
 

Ways to Connect

Behzad Ghaffarian/Unsplash

Bonjour! Perhaps it’s French food you savor—a crusty baguette with a delicious frommage, a refreshing glass of French vin. Perhaps French couture or architecture delights you, or French art. At WRTI 90.1, our listeners adore French music, whose hallmarks are elegance, clarity, and devotion to sonic beauty.

As we remember our War of Independence from Great Britain, you might be surprised to know that Americans deployed a surprising secret weapon—music. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder has more.

Many WRTI listeners tell us that their fathers introduced them to the joys of music. My own dad, a terrific amateur tenor, did the same for me. He played opera full blast on our home stereo speakers at 6 am to wake us kids, and listened to me practice the piano when I was little.

Ryan Brandenberg

What do guitarist Jason Vieaux, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, the crossover trio Time for Three, and bass-baritone Eric Owens have in common? 

Amanda Stevenson

Andrew Bogard

 


When Carol Jantsch was still an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she made musical history by winning the principal tuba position of The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

Though she was blessed with impeccable intonation, a distinctive sound, and a superb sense of timing, Ella Fitzgerald was hindered in her early years by the limitations of the repertoire she sang. It took some time, determination, and visionary collaboration for Ella to find her voice.


Hailed as “exciting and exacting” (L.A. Times), the genre-bending and stylish Ahn Trio plays contemporary music written for, or arranged, by them, and talk with Debra Lew Harder about their innovative collaborations with composers and dancers, including their Philadelphia appearance with the Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, A Quest for Freedom, for the NextMove Dance Series at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia, April 19-22. 

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