Joe Patti

Classical Host

It's his parents' fault. For Joe's sixth birthday, they gave him a transistor radio. All of a sudden, their dreams of having a doctor or lawyer (or even a fry cook) in the family went down the tubes.

For more than three decades, Joe has been defiantly disappointing his parents, to the benefit of radio listeners across the tri-state area. From Trenton to the Jersey shore, and from Philly to Wilmington, he's been programming, producing, and performing in almost every radio format, even winning an award or two along the way.

After having worked with such Philadelphia stars as Hy Lit, Sally Starr, and Johnny "Green Grocer" Lerro during his career, and having made some major noise as the operations and programming head for a South Jersey AM/FM combo, Joe thought it was time for a new challenge. Almost simultaneously, the opportunity to work as production manager at WRTI arrived. "Divine intervention," he says.

Joe is WRTI's production manager as well as a substitute classical host.

Ways to Connect

Macy's Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte launches Season 12 of the Wanamaker Organ Hour on Sunday, February 7th, from 5 to 6 pm with all-new shows! The Wanamaker Organ is the world's largest musical instrument and one of its greatest treasures, housed in Macy's Center City and played daily every day but Sunday since 1911.

The famous Wanamaker Organ was installed in John Wanamaker's Philadelphia department store back in 1911. One hundred years later, Macy's Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte was accompanied by Symphony in C in the celebratory Wanamaker Organ Centennial Concert, which was recorded and released on CD last year.

Join us on Sunday, October 4th from 5 to 6 pm to hear an encore broadcast of the music from this special occasion.

This past May, pianist and conductor - and former music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra - Christoph Eschenbach was awarded the Ernst von Siemens prize for a lifetime in the service of music.

Just prior to receiving the prestigious and much-deserved accolade, Maestro Eschenbach turned 75, and decided that it was time to step down from his current post as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC.  He commented that after 30 years of directing orchestras, perhaps it was time for a break.

Tailor-made you may be asking?  Well, according to Strad Magazine, the Quartetto di Cremona is "...as sleek and elegant as an Armani suit.” And it's true. Every performer should have a tailor like that!

It's been said that when you hear the vocal group Anonymous 4 perform, you're listening to the music of angels or something that can't possibly come from our world. In a word, unearthly. Unfortunately, that sound won't be around much longer, as the group has decided to retire their angelic vocal cords with the 2015-2016 season.  

Returning guest, tenor Richard Troxell, can sing opera like no one's business.  Whether Rodolfo, Don Jose, Pinkerton, Romeo or Turiddu, he's a master.  Even at the ballpark singing the National Anthem, or just kidding around with Jimmy Fallon, his voice shines.  But jazz-pop?  

There's a whole world of music out there that, for the most part, goes in one ear and out the other. But if it weren't there, the world probably wouldn't sound as good. We're talking about "production music." Music used to create a mood or feeling without being the foreground element in a production.

The New York Times calls Alisa Weilerstein the "sovereign of the American cello," and continues, "it’s not technical brilliance that makes Alisa Weilerstein’s recording of Dvorak’s much-loved cello concerto special, though the young American cellist has it in spades. It’s the take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar, but never more so than in the heart-wrenching slow movement, where Ms. Weilerstein’s cello appears to take on human shape."

On this week's Crossover, we take to the stage to hear about the Philadelphia Theatre Company's new musical comedy, Murder for Two, running now through June 28 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Center City, Philadelphia.

With book and music by Joe Kinosian, book and lyrics by Kellen Blair, and direction by Scott Schwartz, the hilarious whodunit features a two-man cast, with one actor investigating the crime and the other playing all the suspects – and both playing the piano.

Emil Rhodes, Family Collection

Harpist Edna Phillips was only 23 when she joined The Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in 1930. The story goes that the orchestra was looking for a second chair harpist, and Phillips' teacher at Curtis, Carlos Salzedo, insisted that she audition.

She was somewhat reluctant.  After all, she'd only been playing the harp for five years, coming to the instrument late in life after spending time with the piano.  But sometimes all it takes is being in the right place at the right time.

After her audition, Stokowski revealed that the orchestra's principal harpist had been badly injured and would not be returning.  He wanted Phillips to fill the chair.  This would make her not only the first woman in The Philadelphia Orchestra, but the first woman to be a principal player in ANY American orchestra.

In Phillips' later years, she was chair of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia where she hired Mary Sue Welsh, a retired editor of children's books. The two would become close friends.  At one point, Phillips suggested to Welsh that they work together on a memoir of her life as a harpist. But, when Phillips passed on in 2003, Welsh tossed it aside.  

Eventually, Welsh returned to the idea, and started working on a Phillips biography, talking to the harpist's family, friends, and co-workers, and using archival material.  Recently published, the book is called, One Woman in a Hundred, and is part of the University of Illinois Press' "Music in American Life" series.

Listen for Jill Pasternak's conversation with author Mary Sue Welsh on the life and times of Edna Phillips, and hear excerpts from the author's taped conversations with the harpist, along with music performed by her, on Crossover, Saturday, June 22nd at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM and the All-Classical stream at wrti.org, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on HD-2 and the All-Classical stream.

Pages