Meridee Duddleston

News Reporter, Arts Desk Reporter

Meridee began reporting in the newsroom at WRTI in 2003 while working toward a master's degree in journalism at Temple University.  Since that time, her duties have expanded to morning news anchor and contributor of weekly Arts Desk features.

A graduate of Hamline University School of Law, Meridee grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and practiced law before making a major leap into the world of journalism. She also holds a graduate degree from New York University School of Law and received a B.A in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In 2011, Meridee was recognized for outstanding public affairs reporting by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcaster's Association (PAPBA) with awards for two News & Views stories. She received 1st place for "Baby Boomers Becoming Seniors: A Growing Population in Philadelphia," and 2nd place for "TUNE UP PHILLY: Classical Music Instruction as a Vehicle for Social Change."

Meridee can be heard weekday mornings between 6 and 10 am.

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WRTI Arts Desk
1:37 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

McCoy Tyner Visits WRTI

Two legends! McCoy Tyner and Bob Perkins at WRTI on March 31, 2015

Mayor Michael Nutter and the City of Philadelphia invited jazz pianist and composer MyCoy Tyner back to his roots for an official recognition of his contribution to the city’s jazz legacy on April 1st. It was a wonderful way to kick off Jazz Appreciation Month in Philadelphia.

Born in 1938, Tyner grew up in West Philadelphia, played for John Coltrane’s historic quartet from 1960 to 1965, and then moved on to place his own voluminous stamp on the music, with ever-changing compositions, arrangements, albums and performances.

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WRTI Arts Desk
11:07 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Listen To This: The Dreamiest Chopin You've Ever Heard

Pianist Chad Lawson's "The Chopin Variations," performed with violinist Judy Kang and cellist Rubin Kodheli, presents the music of Chopin in a whole new way.

After being featured on NPR's All Things Considered, Chad Lawson's CD, The Chopin Variations, shot to No. 1 on iTunes Classical before it was even released in September, 2014. Lawson's interpretation of Chopin's nocturnes, preludes, and waltzes involves a surprising reconfiguration of the piano, and offers a sense of intimacy with the music that is likely new to most listeners.

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learns about the power of simplicity in her conversation with pianist Chad Lawson.

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WRTI Arts Desk
6:00 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Sessions at 23rd Street Cafe: Still Going Strong After 25 Years

Word of mouth is the way most people hear about the weekly jazz jam sessions at the 23rd St. Café in Center City.

Herman DeJong is an architect who came to Philadelphia from Holland in the mid 1960s. He played the bass and started connecting with local jazz enthusiasts. He wanted to find a place to invite them to jam. 

Eventually, in April 1990, the Tuesday night sessions began at the 23rd Street Café, thanks to the owners. Over the years, locals and people from around the country and the world have stopped in.

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WRTI Arts Desk
12:47 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Obsessed with Jazz Tap!

Pam Hetherington and the Jazz Tap Quartet

Tap dancer Pam Hetherington says tap can be the visual representation of any kind of music. And jazz tap provides the opportunity for the dancer to reflect the emotions and story inspired by a live jazz combo. A choreographer and a teacher, she says she’s obsessed with tap’s percussive possibilities: hard-driving, soft and sweet, and in between.

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WRTI Arts Desk
11:27 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Keeping Up With The Aizuri Quartet

Left to right: Miho Saegusa, Zoe Martin-Doike (Violin '13), President Michelle Bachelet, Karen Ouzonian, Ayane Kosaza (Viola '12) and Curtis President and CEO Roberto Diaz
Alex Ibanez

Last January, Delaware Governor Jack Markell welcomed Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the Port of Wilmington, a major entry point for fresh fruit from Chile. Bachelet's focus on trade also included a night at a sold-out dinner organized by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and its Chilean-American counterpart.   

Between the two stops, President Bachelet took a detour from the economic agenda, stopping at the Curtis Institute of Music. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston was there.  

Radio Script:

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Creatively Speaking
9:37 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Napoleon's Armies Advance On Vienna: Beethoven’s “Empire of the Mind” Prevails

Beethoven inititally planned to dedicate his "Eroica" symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).

Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Les Adieux" or "The Farewell" sonata (Piano Sonata No. 26) is considered the composer's most significant work from the period between 1809 - 1810. It was a time when the Napoleonic Wars continued to bring upheaval to Beethoven’s adopted city of Vienna, the surrounding region, and beyond. Even before his Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major was composed, Napoleon’s unyielding push for power had left many disillusioned.

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Creatively Speaking
10:33 am
Mon March 23, 2015

The Musical Treasure Trove At The Library Of Congress

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) at work in his apartment in NYC in 1947.
Photographic proof by Victor Kraft Library of Congress

A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC,  is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.

Case in point: in a series of letters written in 1957 to his wife Felicia, while she was visiting her family in Santiago, Chile, Leonard Bernstein faithfully chronicles the progress of West Side Story during the final weeks of rehearsal through the show’s out-of-town opening in Washington, D.C.  The letters reveal Bernstein’s changing emotions about the show from frustration and agony to his final state of euphoria.  In addition to comments about West Side Story, Bernstein writes about signing his contract as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, his upcoming thirty-ninth birthday, and how much he misses Felicia and their children, Jamie and Alexander. Read the letters here.

The Special Collections of the Music Division are truly fascinating and constitute a resource for musical scholarship that is unmatched anywhere in the world. These unique bodies of materials are extraordinarily vast and diverse, yet very much interrelated. They include some of the greatest treasures of the Music Division and the Library of Congress.

Creatively Speaking
10:00 am
Mon March 16, 2015

A Young Composer Inspired by One Book, One Philadelphia's 'Orphan Train'

Composer TJ Cole wrote "O Children, Dear Children," to accompany the Jan. 22nd launch of the 2015 One Book, Philadelphia program.

Curtis Institute of Music composition student TJ Cole is only 21, but she already has a string of impressive commissions under her belt. Last year she was chosen to write a piece of music based on the Free Library's 2015 One Book, One Philadelphia selection - Orphan Train, a novel by Christina Baker Kline.

It’s the story of 91-year-old Vivian, who lost her family as a child, and 17-year-old Molly, a foster child who also knows what it’s like to be alone and unwanted.  

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WRTI Arts Desk
12:36 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

A Day for 250 Young Philadelphia Musicians at the Kimmel Center

A section of violinists pose for a photo at the Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians
Steven Krull Photography

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston looks at the third Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians that took place on Feb. 16, 2015 at the Kimmel Center. Gathered together were 250 student instrumentalists and vocalists, from over 13 organizations in Philadelphia, who studied in sections during an intensive day of learning and socializing. The day ended with a grand performance on the Verizon Hall stage. Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, led the instruments. Melissa Malvar-Keylock, associate conductor of the Princeton Girlchoir, led the singers.

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Creatively Speaking
11:59 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Did the Cabaret Tax Kill Big Bands?

The Cotton Club, New York City

In 1944 big dance bands were all the rage. They were so popular that to gain additional revenue for World War II, the federal government enforced a 30 percent "cabaret tax" on the gross receipts of any "public place where music and dancing privileges... except instrumental or mechanical music alone, are afforded the patrons in connection with the serving or selling of food, refreshment, or merchandise."

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