Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Reporter

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes weekly features to Creatively Speaking with Jim Cotter, produces arts news, and works as a news anchor.

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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Creatively Speaking
12:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Pictures at an Exhibition: The Evolution of a Masterpiece

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881)

One popular work in the orchestral repertoire was written by a Russian composer and then orchestrated decades later by a Frenchman. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, this version had its first performance in October in Paris  in 1922. The music describes a stroll through the gallery - a promenade - with ten specific images brought to life.

Six of the drawings and watercolors that inspired Mussorgsky have survived.  The first performance of Pictures at an Exhibition as orchestrated by Ravel took place in Paris on October 19th in 1922.

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Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon October 20, 2014

The Legacy of Jazz Singer and Pianist Shirley Horn

Jazz singer Shirley Horn (1934-2005)

 

Known for her distinctive singing, which she did most often from the keyboard, Shirley Horn studied classical music before turning to jazz in the 1950s.  In the early '60s she caught the attention of Miles  Davis, and then her career started to take off.

Philadelphia-based singer Phyllis Chapell spoke with WRTI's Susan Lewis about how her own approach to music changed when she began listening to Shirley Horn, beginning with the song, "Here’s to Life."

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Creatively Speaking
11:39 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Mozart's Musical Mysteries with 19-Year-Old Superstar Pianist Jan Lisiecki

Polish/Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki was Gramophone Magazine's 2013 Young Artist of the Year.

Among 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.

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Creatively Speaking
11:36 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Taking Jazz to Spiritual Settings

The Jazz Sanctuary at Gloria Dei Church in South Philly.

The Jazz Sanctuary is an organization that takes jazz into houses of worship and other nontraditional venues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, founder Alan Segal says jazz and the spiritual community drove his recovery from a life-threatening crisis.

The Jazz Sanctuary presents concerts open to the public at houses of worship and other non-profit venues. Information about upcoming concerts.

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Creatively Speaking
11:13 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Finding New Dimensions in Chamber Music

Dolce Suono's repertoire spans a range of works from Baroque to contemporary, for two to 11 musicians, with various combinations of instruments.

Chamber music, played by small ensembles, one player to a part, and without a conductor, is an intimate and engaging art form. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, it can also provide insight into history and human emotions.  

For flutist and music historian Mimi Stillman, chamber music is a way to explore important issues "that illuminate how people thought at a given time."

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Creatively Speaking
6:36 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Going Strong: Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

PCMS presents Belcea Quartet on October 17th at 8 pm at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater.

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (PCMS) has been feeding the growing musical appetites of music lovers for decades with increasing numbers of concerts. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, PCMS grew out of the celebrated Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, where gifted classical musicians have been playing chamber music since 1951.

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Creatively Speaking
6:56 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Designing Buildings Where Art Amazes and Sound Soars

Frank Gehry at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Master Plan press preview in June, 2014. By his own account, music and art are among his favorite things.
Constance Mensh

Award-winning architect Frank Gehry, known for designing buildings with striking exteriors, is now partnering with The Philadelphia Museum of Art on a mostly interior renovation and expansion of its classical structure. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, this renowned architect is inspired by classical as well as contemporary culture.

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Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Jazz and Experimental Music in Philadelphia: Ars Nova Workshop At Work

Sam Amidon sings and plays fiddle, guitar, and banjo.

Ars Nova means “New Art." And for over a dozen years, Ars Nova Workshop in Philadelphia has been presenting musicians performing jazz and experimental music in interesting venues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, promoting new music is in keeping with Philadelphia’s rich musical history.

Coming up: Friday, October 17th at 8 pm, Ars Nova Workshop and FringeArts present: singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, and bassist Shahzad Ismaily in celebration of Lily-O, the new album of re-imagined folk songs on Nonesuch Records. Tickets and information here.
 

Creatively Speaking
6:37 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Bassoon's Lyrical Beauty

Daniel Matsukawa

Many great composers in history wrote for the bassoon. But in the last 70 years or so, the instrument has often been associated with one particular bouncy melody from a classic animated film. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a recent premiere reminds us of the bassoon’s lyrical beauty.

On Sunday September 28, 2014, on WRTI, Daniel Matsukawa and The Philadelphia Orchestra perform David Ludwig’s Pictures from the Floating World.

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Creatively Speaking
6:30 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Ney: An Ancient Flute Celebrated in a Modern Work

The flute is one of the oldest musical instruments, with its earliest versions found thousands of years ago in different cultures. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a recently composed flute concerto celebrates one of its ancient bamboo ancestors.

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, on WRTI, Jeffrey Khaner and The Philadelphia Orchestra perform Behzad Ranjbaran’s Flute Concerto.

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