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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After publicly resisting the growing fascism in Europe in the 1930s, Hungarian pianist and composer Bela Bartok eventually fled his homeland. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he wrote his Second Violin Concerto not long before emigrating to the United States.

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was so revered in his homeland that the government commissioned him to write a symphony as part of a national celebration of his 50th birthday. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on what has become one of the composer’s most famous works.

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 is not very well known in America. But it has a strong connection with The Philadelphia Orchestra, which continues to mine the richness of the work. WRTI's Susan Lewis has more.

According to Middle Eastern legend, Scheherazade saved her own life by telling her husband, the Sultan,  folk tales for A Thousand and One Nights. Those stories-within a-story inspired 19th-century composer Rimsky-Korsakov to create an orchestral suite that remains one of his most popular works today.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

PHL Live, a new Philadelphia city government initiative now in its second year, aims to recognize musical talent in the region with a contest spanning 10 different genres, from classical and jazz to pop. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the jazz ensemble, The Vibe Plus Five. The band came in first place in PHL Live's jazz genre in 2014.

Moravian composer Leos Janacek, who died in 1928 at the age of 74, wrote many of his most highly regarded works in the last dozen years of his life. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his monumental Mass is striking in its structure, size, rhythms, and tone, not to mention its use of an ancient text.

Jazz trumpeter, composer, poet, and community activist Hannibal Lokumbe noticed early in life that music had the power to change people's lives. He took up trumpet, and after college, moved to New York City, where he played with jazz greats Gil Evans, Roy Haynes, and Cecil Taylor, among others.

In Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Orchestra premiere of his "spiritatorio" - One Land, One River, One People, Hannibal is also taking music and conversation into different parts of the community.

Every great piece of music has a story behind it. Telling those stories and performing those works has become an all-consuming career and a popular concert format for pianist Jeffery Siegel.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Siegel's Keyboard Conversations.

There are very few tuba concertos in the classical repertoire - Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1954 work is among a handful. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new addition explores the largely untapped lyricism of the instrument.   

Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, was posthumously inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame on October 26th.  Lady Day would have turned 100 on April 7, 2015