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.

Ways to Connect

Opera Philadelphia/Dominic M. Mercier

In a new opera, We Shall Not Be Moved, five teens find shelter in a condemned house in West Philadelphia, inhabited by ghosts recalling five children killed in 1985 when police bombed the headquarters of the black liberation group, MOVE. WRTI’s Susan Lewis spoke with the composer, whose work explores issues of racial and social injustice today. The opera is part of Opera Philadelphia's O17 Festival.

Johannes Brahms' last work was composed for an instrument he’d not written for in decades, in a style that harkened back to J.S. Bach. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Brahms' chorale preludes for organ.

Jessica Griffin

Early solo viola repertoire was often played by violinists who also played the viola. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, that music today puts violists in the spotlight, including Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Violist Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang.

The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared 2017 Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
 


Andrew Wyeth. Christina's World. 1948. Tempera on panel, 32 1/4 x 47 3/4" (81.9 x 121.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

One of the Philadelphia region's most celebrated painters was born in 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his work has also inspired music by one of the region’s most well-known contemporary composers.

Jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, died in New York, and in between he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 91 on September 23rd.

Austrian composer Anton Webern became famous as a member of the "Second Viennese School," known for writing atonal music. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, an early work—officially premiered decades after Webern’s death—shows another side to the 20th-century modernist.

Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.


Williams James Basie, born on August 21st, 1904 in Redbank, NJ, would grow up to become jazz royalty.  Ever wonder how he got the name Count? Although there were different theories over the years, Basie himself cleared it up with the story reported in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it (1966) by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff.

NASA

Solar eclipse fever has seized America! And whether you're watching outside with "eclipse glasses," or inside—on TV or online—WRTI is here to keep you company with great music inspired by the heavens! 

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