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

Kaupo Kikkas

Listen to a live performance, recorded on Friday, March 9, featuring the young American pianist Henry Kramer performing works by Robert Schumann and Maurice Ravel. A Maine native, Henry’s playing has been lauded as “triumphant” and “thrilling” by The New York Times.

With genius and grace, African-American slaves transformed bitter human experience into a beautiful art form called the "spiritual." One of the most haunting African-American spirituals, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” was likely borne out of heart-wrenching tragedy: the forcible separation of parent from child.

Born in New York City to Jewish-German immigrants, Lorenz Hart penned some of Broadway’s most haunting, sophisticated lyrics. He began collaborating with composer Richard Rodgers when he was 24 and Rodgers 17.

Lisa Marie Mazzucco

WRTI 90.1 was proud to present the world-renowned Daedalus Quartet LIVE in our performance studio, on Friday, February 2, at 12 noon, for a program of Beethoven’s String Quartets—they're among the most profound works of chamber music ever written. Watch on the WRTI Facebook page!

Craig Schwartz

This Sunday, February 4th at Penn's Harold Prince Theatre, the world-renowned Daedalus Quartet performs Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 131 after a staged reading of Michael Hollinger’s award-winning play, Opus. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder spoke with playwright Michael Hollinger and Dr. Marcia Ferguson, who directs the play, about this unique production, and what the audience can expect.

On January 22, 2018, we presented a special LIVE broadcast. Grammy-winning Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists” (Gramophone), played with award-winning violinist Kristin Lee in the WRTI 90.1 Performance Studio.

Vanessa Briceno Photography

If you haven’t yet heard the resonant, rich sound of the solo double bass in concert, now’s your chance. On Friday, January 26th at noon, the superb, young double bass soloist and composer Xavier Foley will play LIVE from WRTI 90.1’s performance studio.

Please join me for Classical Coffeehouse on Saturday from 6 am to 12 noon for a specially crafted, delicious musical blend— just for Christmas! You’ll hear beautiful holiday classics by Schubert, J.S. Bach, and Corelli, and traditional carols sung by Pavarotti, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and more.

The legendary Broadway musical writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II produced their final show together, The Sound of Music, nine months before Hammerstein passed away of cancer. Yet throughout all the songs of the show, there’s a great sense of hope and optimism.