Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Reporter

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes Arts Desk features, and weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast series on WRTI with host Gregg Whiteside.

She is also a freelance essayist, journalist, and speechwriter who has written about Philadelphia for Insight Guides and Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's Culture Files.  A former columnist for Philadelphia Magazine, she is the author of Reinventing Ourselves after Motherhood and a book of essays. Her work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Child Magazine, Parents Magazine, Reader's Digest and Ladies' Home Journal (Parents Digest).

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Susan is also a lawyer, with a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College, Connecticut, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She has practiced law in New York City and taught entertainment law at Rutgers Law School in Camden.

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Italian composer Alfredo Casella’s Symphony No 2 is a major work composed in 1910 that is little known today. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a contemporary conductor is working to change that, leading it in cities around the world, including Philadelphia, in its U.S. premiere.  


Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera

Opera Philadelphia is presenting the East Coast premiere of Jennifer Hidgon's first opera, Cold Mountain. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, the opera adds another dimension to the Civil War story from the critically acclaimed novel by Charles Frazier.

Cold Mountain opens Friday, February 5th and runs through Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.


This month, in 1926, trumpet virtuoso, singer, and bandleader Louis Armstrong recorded the first jazz scat vocal, "Heebie Jeebies." WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the life and legacy of a musician who propelled jazz onto a mainstream stage.  She speaks with Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal drama critic, playwright, and author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.

When the young Robert Schumann fell in love with his piano teacher’s daughter, Clara, her father was not pleased and tried to keep them apart. How did they keep their passion alive? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.  


WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, February 7 at 1 pm features several works of a celebrated Russian composer, conductor and pianist who had a close relationship with the ensemble. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the concert will be led by someone with connections of his own to the music and the man.

Two great sax players were born on the same day, just three years apart. On February 2nd, 1924, Sonny Stitt was born in Boston, and Stan Getz made his first appearance in Philadelphia on the same day in 1927. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, each had his own style that would influence future generations.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is now known as a classical music giant. But in 1866, he was a young man who had switched careers and was tackling his very first symphony. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this early work – titled by the composer, Winter Daydreams.


Among Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s hundreds of compositions are 27 piano concertos. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the young pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is making his mark today, is drawn to their musical purity, emotional complexity, and sense of fun.

What is Gypsy Jazz?

Jan 20, 2016

Rooted in African-American communities of the South, jazz became popular in Europe in the 1920s and '30s and influenced the development of other styles. WRTI's Susan Lewis speaks with has more on "gypsy jazz."


Candace diCarlo

In between rehearsals for the East Coast premiere of her opera, Cold Mountain, Pulitzer-winning composer Jennifer Higdon is preparing for another big event. At Curtis' Field Concert Hall, on Sunday, January 24th at 3:00 pm, Dolce Suono Ensemble will premiere a new work of Higdon's for flute, cello, and piano. American Canvas is a musical expression of three American painters: Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andrew Wyeth.

As part of the concert, "Women Pioneers of American Music," Dolce Suono commissioned Jennifer Higdon to compose this work. The composer stopped by the WRTI studios to chat about American Canvas with WRTI's Susan Lewis.


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