Jim Cotter

Arts & Culture Editor

Jim was born and raised in Ireland. He began his radio career in Dublin before moving to the U.K. where he worked for BBC Radio Wales and the BBC World Service. He lived on the island of Crete in Greece for 10 years before moving to the United States.

Since 2002, Jim has been the station's arts and culture reporter, and then the arts and culture editor.

Jim traveled to Europe in 2004, and to Asia in 2005 and 2008 to report on Philadelphia Orchestra tours for WRTI and to Scotland in 2005 with Pennsylvania Ballet.  

In 2013, Jim was awarded a prestigious Knight Arts Grant to produce "Philadelphia Music Makers," a new artist-hosted music program he created. The series will begin airing on WRTI in Fall 2014. 

Jim can be heard throughout the week in Creatively Speaking arts features and in Sunday Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts. 


Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Tasmin Little's Big Relationship with Delius

Violinist Tasmin Little

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.

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Philadelphia Music Makers
3:45 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Ernest Stuart: Trombonist On A Mission

Ernest Stuart

"From the first time I saw a live performance, I knew that I had to do that."

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Philadelphia Music Makers
5:35 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

A Violinist, a Violist, and the Romance of Tradition

Elissa Lee Koljonen, photo credit: J. Henry Fair

After violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1994, she was invited to perform at the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival (now the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival). At a rehearsal there, she confessed to the violist she was to perform with that she had never before performed the popular Halvorsen Passacaglia for violin and viola (based on music of Handel). The violist, Roberto Díaz, then admitted the same thing to her.

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Creatively Speaking
11:17 am
Mon February 16, 2015

"Manny" Ax: A Man For All Eras

Pianist Emanuel Ax
Maurice Jerry Beznos

Pianist Emanuel Ax, or "Manny" as likes to be called, is one of the music world's most beloved and respected classical musicians, and has been a longtime advocate for contemporary music, while retaining his love for the great works of the past.

This Sunday, February 22 at 1 pm, on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on WRTI, we'll hear him perform in two separate works - from the standard repertoire: Richard Stauss' Burleske for piano and orchestra and from the late-19th century, and Bach's Piano Concerto in D minor from the 1730s.  

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Philadelphia Music Makers
3:28 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Warren Oree's Lifelong Arpeggio

Bassist Warren Oree

Growing up, Warren "Butch" Oree never had dreamed of becoming a musician. Though jazz was a constant presence in both his home life and social activities, the thought of actually getting on stage didn't cross his mind until he wandered into a music shop in his mid-twenties.

Upon learning that Oree had a long-standing interest in the upright bass that he had never pursued, the shop keeper, James Mitchell, accused him of cowardice - one thing that Oree, who was then a respected gang member, deeply resented.

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Creatively Speaking
12:30 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

An Orchestra Musician Who Has Seen Them All

Herbert Light holds the Larry A. Grika Chair in the first violin section of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Since its founding in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra has had four music directors whose tenures have lasted more than a decade. Today, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, there is one member of the ensemble who has played under all of these great conductors.

When violinist Herbert Light won his audition for the Orchestra in 1961, it was his second job offer in a week.

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Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Warren Oree's Unlikely Road to a Life in Jazz

Warren Oree (fourth from left) and his Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

Jazz bassist and composer Warren Oree has become a stalwart of Philadelphia’s jazz scene. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, his story is one of overcoming great personal adversity helped by, and in the service of, music.

If you’ve spent any time listening to live jazz in Philly in the past several decades, chances are you’ve heard Oree play. Yet, his road to musical success was a bumpy one. He says he wasn’t even sure that such a road existed in his early life.

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Creatively Speaking
11:56 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Opera Philadelphia Gets Wilde

Frank Harris (William Burden) urges Oscar Wilde (David Daniels) to flee to France.
Ken Howard The Santa Fe Opera

The East Coast premiere of an opera about the 19th-century, Anglo-Irish writer Oscar Wilde is from Feb. 6th t0 15th at the Academy of Music. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, Wilde's life story is as compelling as his work.

Oscar Wilde came to America early in his career, even before he’d written anything of any consequence. He was already a gifted raconteur.

Historian John Cooper is an authority on Wilde in America. He says many of Wilde’s most-quoted phrases, like much of his writings, have a timeless quality.

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Philadelphia Music Makers
5:37 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

The Musical Heart of Michelle Cann

Pianist Michelle Cann

Pianist Michelle Cann's musical evolution started early.

Her father, the music teacher at the local parochial elementary school, made sure that she had ample access to experiment from a young age.

At seven years old, Cann began piano lessons in earnest, hoping to become as successful with the instrument as her older sister, who had been taking lessons for years.

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Philadelphia Music Makers, Jan. 25, 6 PM
4:31 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Venissa Santi: A Cultural Voyager

Vocalist Venissa Santi

Vocalist Venissa Santi's musical journey has been one of intimate self discovery. Since childhood, her Cuban parents familiarized her with the sounds of her culture, but not until adulthood did she make pilgrimage to Havana and truly fall in love with the country's songbook.

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